Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupied: Doth They Protest Too Much?

Despite being a mere hop, skip, and a bridge (or tunnel) away from me here in Jersey, I paid little attention to the protest being held in the city known as Occupy Wall Street until a few days ago. I rarely watch broadcast television anymore, and I usually get my news in snippets from the Internet via my IPad or cell. When the story popped up a couple of weeks ago, I simply bypassed it. But it has become hard to ignore as my timeline in Twitter and newsfeed in Facebook became full of links, pictures and opinions on the spreading protests.

A few days ago, while checking a CNN story on the protests, I asked K what he knew about it. And his answer was, "Not much." Hmmm... "Um, do you know what their goals are?" I asked. Without looking up from his laptop he answered, "Nope." Oh... My confusion was confounded when some of the protesters interviewed couldn't answer that all important, yet basic question either. Some seemed to be protesting for the sake of... protesting.

While catching up on episodes of television shows I missed because I don't watch broadcast television anymore, I saw the second episode of this season's "Community", in which leftwing, liberal, vegetarian hippie Britta learns how a former friend of hers has been imprisoned in the Middle East for protesting. She becomes jealous and begins a campaign to protest "the man" on Greendale's campus. "The man" being Security Guard Chang, and the result being hilarious:

Okay, hilarious and bizarre. But any show pumping 80s classics is definitely blog worthy. These scenes reminded me of some- emphasis on SOME- of the protesters. They want to be caught up in something. After all, all those thousands of young Arabs got to protest this past spring... why shouldn't we take the autumn? Let's make sure it gets on Facebook, okay?!?

But of course, not all of the protesters are about to slap on a black bodysuit decorated with Barbies. They actually have much to protest. They are sick of being unemployed, underemployed and hopeless. They want the change they were promised in '08, but have yet to see. We are battling on more fronts, with no end in sight. We're even more in debt. More people are seeking food assistance. Things are pretty freakin' scary. I like Red Cardigan's take on it.

While many of my Earl Grey sipping friends are taking potshots at the OWS crowd, I'd like to point out that their compatriots started out in much the same way two and a half years ago but without the coverage level of the latte crowd. I also think the OWS crowd need to quickly coalesce around some kind of platform soon a la the Tea Party, because I doubt too many people will want to march around lower Manhattan in 35 degree December weather without having some real organization to stand on.

No matter where you stand on the protests, I'm sure we can all agree, it's Lionel Ritchie we're looking for.


Red Cardigan said...

Thank you for the link, Alisha! :)

I agree that the OWS protestors seem...incoherent, somewhat. But as I see it, just because some spoiled ex-rich kids decided to have a party and call it a protest doesn't mean that people aren't really hurting.

How about the unemployed who are being told by corporations: don't bother to send in your resume if you've been out of work for more than a couple of months? That's just wrong, but that's the way things are going.

Alisha De Freitas said...

No problem, Erin! I have to direct people to read blogs that are much more coherent than mine!

I don't understand why employers would deny so many applicants just because they have been out of work for more than a few months. That is the reality for millions. It's ridiculous.

I know personally people who have been laid off. K and I have purposefully chose to not purchase a home right now because the instability of the job market combined with New Jersey's extremely high property tax rates. I read on your blog some months ago about the approximate cost a family in your area pays for a typical mortgage. I remember being shocked- that's about what we pay for our one bedroom apartment. Yup. Times are tough. Especially living a train ride away from Manhattan.

I'm empathetic. I hope my post doesn't come off as not understanding. I really do hope though this movement will coalesce behind some type of attainable goals and not just settle for political posturing.

And I really dig that Lionel Ritchie song!

Keiron said...

Good job linking the Lionel Richie song and the "demonstration". It is pretty hilarious and sublime the way you linked Britta and the protesters. it a cause you're looking for.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Thank you, Baby. I'm glad you got it. ;-)

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