Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Cubicle

I'm sure that it goes without mention that Occupy <Insert Disillusioned City Here> has taken up much of the time and energy of the nation, whether it be the protesters themselves or the news outlets that cover these demonstrations, or the political opposition that rages in disgust of people's ability to gather and occupy for the eradication of corporate businesses.

Now that National Public Radio is basically the only way that I receive news updates, I've enjoyed the in-depth and non-biased coverage of this growing nation-wide dilemma. Previously, people were interviewed at the Occupy Grand Rapids demonstration and I got to hear of the plight (and by plight, I mean something that people have had to do for years) of a college graduate that waits tables while he writes a book about the usage of the English language. This young man still works and pays his bills, but does what he can to come down and demonstrate in his off-time. I turned this situation over and over in mind, while trying to formulate an opinion about how I feel about this growing phenomena of people occupying space in order to convey a message that they're tired of corporate greed and 1% of the population controlling almost all of the wealth. They want a new way to run businesses in this country. It's a commendable notion.

At first, I was irritated at the notion of Occupy Wall Street. How could people that have both the time and the money to sit in New York City of days without end...possibly understand the plight of a middle-management cog at the corporate branch of XYZ bank in Sheboygan, Wisconsin? As the Occupy movement branched out, though, I felt hope that there were people like me occupying the streets in search of a better world. Then, a website was established where could send people the things that they were requesting in order to continue to occupy.

Fuck You. No, really.

I guess you can really only lash out against the greed of this country as long as you have shampoo and organic fruit, right?

While listening to NPR, a point was made that most of the people that occupy are, in fact, college students because they are afraid of becoming disillusioned with the job opportunities that the world has to offer, because they're unemployed themselves, or because they're generally still wrapped in the swaddle of the wide-eyed idealism that is academia. Whatever the reason, you've made the decision to occupy...somehow, I don't see how it is my responsibility to provide you with the things that you feel you need to so.

There was a sign that I saw at the local magistrate when I was fighting my speeding ticket, and it is a saying that has forever stuck with me:

I should tattoo this pearl of wisdom right across my lower back and do the tramp-stamping world a favor.

I initially started this post several weeks ago but haven't found the time to finish it, because I have two jobs, a marriage, a home, and a life to tend...the things that seem to suck political activism right out of a person. I'm ashamed of myself in that regard, because I often find myself too tired to care and too disillusioned to not be too tired. Voter apathy strikes again.

I still, though, spend a considerable amount of time listening to National Public Radio and really trying to gain insight into what both sides of this Occupy <Blank> must be feeling and try to relate to the overall message of creating an economical system that could benefit everyone. Most recently, a group of protesters in Oakland have caused a shut-down of the port there, and have defaced some property. If people that are tired of the poverty that seems to be engulfing the middle class, why would they shut-down a business that employs hundreds of people? Whether you disagree with their business model or not, those people still have to work. They still have families to take care of and they still have lives to lead. Why do you feel as thought you can make decisions for them about when they're going to work? Why deface property in the middle of the night like some kind of passive-aggressive dickless wonder?

I'm all for a violent upheaval, but if you're going to do it, you need to really level it and build it up again, ala Fight Club. This petty spray-painting bullshit is better left to trust-fund kids with art degrees and a smug sense of self-worth.

When I occupy my cubicle and I'm listening to the 24-Hour News Stream, I daydream when I should be working. My heart is often places with the very core of the very first people that occupied Wall Street: those that want to demonstrate that they're tired of the system that is in place and they want money to mean living a good life and not necessarily power. My anger also finds its way there, too. It rests on the shoulders of those short-sighted individuals that smash a window now because they think they're making a difference. In the long run, that is what history will remember, if it remembers Occupy Wall Street at all.
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  1. Have you seen the "54%" movement? This whole 99% thing has me torn as well. Part of me loves the fact that our generation and younger are finally growing a set and protesting SOMETHING; but come on- get a job. That's one of the things I like about the 53% thing- or maybe it is 54% I cannot remember. Basically, it's the group of individuals who pay taxes (meaning, they have jobs) and are tired of the BS going on in the country right now.

  2. Frou Frou, I appreciate your point but I don't see it the same way. My feeling is, I have a child and I am lucky to be self-employed with a job that keeps me too busy to commit to long-term (or even medium-term) demonstration. So I am thrilled to be able to do something to support those people who are committed for the long haul. Groceries, hot food, clean socks and underwear, toiletries and coffee? Sure. It's my pleasure. Thank you for sticking it out in the rain and cold while I go home to my nice apartment and warm bed every night.

    @mine, I agree that it's great that people are out there standing up for what they believe in. As far as getting a job? Well,that's kind of the point, isn't it? The unemployment rate continues to be high as jobs are outsourced overseas to be fulfilled by people making a pittance, while the corporations doing the outsourcing neglect their fair share of taxes.

  3. @Argentée (Oh Jolie Laide)

    I understand your point, too, Argentée, and I definitely would not think ill of anyone that chose to support this movement. As "mine," said, it's refreshing to see that people are willing to fight for something that's slightly admirable, but I fail to see how this movement has really changed the minds of anyone that it was targeted toward, and rather, has proved that 1%'s now the movement becomes chaotic and destructive.

    There are plenty of people that don't break windows in legitimate businesses and destory parks that need food and clean clothes and I'm willing to bet they're not far from any of our homes.

    It is my fondest wish to be part of a movement that will change the way that America does business and the way that American looks at wealthy vs. poor, but this isn't it.

  4. I'm a huge NPR fan and supporter but up until recently they have were making it policy to not even been report on the Occupy movement. And as far as mainstream media go, I'm really saddened but not surprised that they have chosen to focus on the very small (and very unwelcome) percentage of people who hurl bricks at windows, but we know that doesn't sell papers. I can say having been out there frequently for two months and in two different cities now that this is not the majority or even a significant minority of the people occupying. My 3 year old comes with me. It has been safe, productive, positive - and very large.

    I think that huge changes with the way America does business have begun and could continue to build - have you seen this?

    More than 650,000 people joined credit unions last month. That's more than in all of 2010 combined- and this was written before the major Bank Transfer Day that occured this past Saturday, November 5.

    Anyway, I don't want to hijack your comments. I love your blog and wanted to add my thoughts, with respect.

  5. And I hit Send before I added this, in reference to the 53% folks. I found it very moving.

  6. @Argent�e (Oh Jolie Laide)

    Thank you so much for that link! I really enjoyed this letter, and I really feel like this person is closer to what I want to for America. Maybe we could all move to Wisconsin and start a Utopian society. heh. I only say Wisconsin because I like lots of snow. heh.

    You're right about the news sensationalizing these movements negative points, but alas...that is another industry that could use a serious re-structuring.

    As for hijacking my blog...I'm totally excited about it! I'm really flattered that anyone reads and I feel so fortunate to have readers that want to discuss and respect each other!