I have not yet been deeply involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement (or locally, the Occupy Pittsburgh one--the irony being that my shitty job keeps me too busy to do so), but I have been keeping an eye on developments with it. It has warmed my heart to see it grow, and even though it may not be perfect, it stands for something important: that the vast majority of us are getting fucked.
Now, with the most recent Republican debate, the GOP candidates for 2012 have decided that they can see the advantages of steering this anger, much like they did with the Tea Party in 2010, and in less than a week, almost all of the polling candidates have changed their tune, coming to now “understand” the frustrations of the OWS protestors. But have they come out in support of the people on the street? Have they, too, denounced the record profits made and massive bonuses doled out during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? Of course not. They’ve got the gall to suggest that protestors should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue, not Wall Street. “They have basically targeted the wrong target,” said Herman Cain. “It should be against the failed policies of this administration, not Wall Street, is where they should be protesting.”
We live in a twisted world where demanding changes in the businesses that suck the blood of our working nation dry is viewed as “unpatriotic”, but the systematic destruction of our very government itself is something every red-blooded American should be chomping at the bit to do. At the heart of it, OWS really is a partisan movement. It is clearly geared toward the left, just as the Tea Party was geared toward the right. I don’t want to believe that, hoping rather that we can all be outraged at the current coddling big business receives from our increasingly more economically conservative system here in the United States--but I know it isn’t true.
However, we now begin to see OWS painted in a different light, and it is my sincerest hope that the protestors themselves remember those roots as the GOP tries to find a foothold to work their own angle. “I think the people who are protesting on Wall Street break into two groups,” Newt Gingrich said at the last debate. “One is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who, frankly, are very close to the Tea Party people and actually care.”
I see what you did there.
Occupy protestors the world over: Do not be misled. Your target is the right one. It will be attractive to let into the fold all of those who share your sentiments, your frustrations. But be careful, because some will come as wolves in sheeps clothing. You are the left’s retaliation against the astroturfed uprising of the neo-conservative right, and for that you should be proud. The media has said your message is unclear, but it is simply because the message really is so broad, so simple. Do not allow that to be compromised, to have your anger steered in the wrong direction. You have the roiling frustration of a nation behind you and it is growing with every day, so captain it well and maybe the change we have been so long waiting for can finally be made.