First of all, let me preface by saying that I in no way consider myself an expert on the subject of prostesting. Although I do have experience in this area, that regardless of the context of position, does bear relevance overall. As much as any faction that finds a cause and purpose in advertising their cause, and wishes to be successful in it's mission.
It's been more than mere entertainment that has had me watching and listening to a group who has successfully built their numbers in record time. I and everyone else who looks, cannot deny this whirlwind groundswell has gained momentum and deserves respect for the organizing skills thus far. They in are in the public eye and have been, by shrewedly using techology in a most skilled way, even before people had time to really understand what they are standing up for. Because, when ever before in history since this country's beginnings, have we seen those so brave as to boldly challenge not only hierachy of government; but more importantly heirachy of class? Something that was not supposed to be in the most upwardly mobile society, that promised the ideal of aspiring individually to all it's citizens. An ideal that supposedly still exists for parents to pass on to their descendants, even as our fairytale has now eroded and exposed the stark truth of reality. A truth that can no longer be denied or silenced.
The people are angry and demand to be heard. It's just that simple.
And so I found myself starting this week, watching the local Occupy Boston events that made national headlines for it's seeming throwback to the 60's & 70's protests. Watching a determined group facing the local police municipality face to face and not afraid to be arrested for their convictions. So now we were really arresting citizens for their bold actions and thereby choosing sides. The Fox Network pundit I watched briefly, likened them to a "smelley, dirty, mob". But in reality, everyone was questioning the scope of local authorities who had been called to bring order; but who looked more like the bullies. Immediately the movement became a victim, that represented all those who already felt victimized by the establishment. The exact flavor of the people we were watching being led off to jail, was in fact not so dificult to discern. Maybe they were in fact just like us or the us who is mostly living one paycheck away from disaster everywhere. All of a sudden the morning news shows were scrutinizing a little closer, what had seem so far removed not so long ago. But it wasn't just because they broke headlines with their arrests; but more the common realization that they were growing in numbers...and they would not go away quietly in time soon. The first hurdles of organization had been conquered amazingly quickly and seemingly building momentum every day. HMMMM said the stuffed shirts and pundits... This may be a topic worth researching that has brought all these citizens together. They don't look like the most recent sign wavers of the "Tea Party", and they don't seem to claim allegiance to any particular politial group. What is it driving this undenable force? Not just a band of a few sporadic loud and angry rants. They lived up to their promise to "Occupy" and that's what they did. People of a wide age range and demographics socially; who feel they have a message that transcends any previous boundaries. We don't live in a Feudal System afterall....or do we?
Story after story came out this week with everyone's take on their mission to expose the injustices of a minority ruling class. Obvious attention being paid to the disparities between those who literally rule us financially, and who let so many drown while they moved onto higher ground. Experts were now looking more closely at the actual statistics that have been somewhat hidden from view for so long. The elite and rich do not like their bankbooks laid wide open for all to see. With the government more likely to support this as well, rather than admit the actual numbers for those who caused more immediate destruction of a multi-class society than ever before. We might have heard a few figures here and there regarding their oppulent lifestyles and un-maginable bonuses in the face of such catastrophe. We were being sold on the idea that to not save them, would mean that we could not save ourselves. Till the pain that was mounting from the growing numbers of unemployed and homeless, could also not be and would not be denied any longer. And who better to champion this cause than the youth who could no longer see their future any better. College graduates who found themselves unable to not only surpass their parent's dreams; let alone just support themselves beyond having to stay in the family home. The power of youth is their abundant energy. The power of this group was also their educations paid for dearly and with many sacrifices. Business majors who had studied economics and understood intimately the game that was being played out at their expense. When the lights came on and there could be no more distractions, an angry mob was formed. People who suddenly saw themselves more closely related to war veterans and impoverished citizens who had been robbed of their futures as well. The dynamics of finding a common bond were from then on inevitable.
So this was how I found myself and most of the world, in awe this weekend of sympathy for this cause that was now being played out globally. Played out on "livestream" so as to be easily accessed by anyone who wished to watch, even if the mainstream networks chose not to give them coverage. Using this "in your face" technology to also insure their protection if needed, should confrontation happen again as it had here in Boston in the cloak of darkness...and in the middle of the night. A ploy that cannot be denied as prudent and in an arena that the young, techno savvy organizers had taken from earlier times. As the chant "The Whole World Is Watching" served it's purpose again. No police, mayor or govenor wanted to be subjected to villain status, let alone any liabilities beyond. Inspiring enough, that the governor of Massachusets came out himelf in his "casual" attire yesterday, to meet and get to know just who these "citizens" were. As now the tide has shifted and one side of the political establisment, recognized the inherent power of a group who was being so dismissed by their opponents. Better to align with the masses, than to become the object of their rants. The one language all politicians speak is votes, and this is the language of the bargain that will eventually be struck. There could be no better time for a cause and momentum than an election year; but I think this is still a catalyst this group is failing to use to their advantage.
So here finally is my proposal to all those who wish the "Occupy Movement" to truly honor it's history making moments. After watching the live scenes playing out in New York till the wee hours this morning; I had an epiphany of sorts in my renewed revolutionary mind. The one weak moment in the astounding turnout of demonstrators in New York, who so well presented a mostly calm and peaceful posture, was a few fringe elements who took to the streets with obviously more testosterone driven moments. Mindless displays of overturning random cars and wreaking havoc, that could unfortunately dilute all the good things that had been so hard earned by those that were earnest in their contributions. The message could be sabotaged so easily by a random few, and the sadness in the realization was torturing all those who were aspiring to achieve a higher platform.
We had our moments to learn this phenomena as well in the 70's; but we also had cooler heads who used those lessons and refused to be manipulated to defeat. This is what I was speaking of in my last post when looking for the maturity to rise in this present day protest. You have to know your enemy to know how to play their game to your advantage. Embarassing politicians and people in high places is not enough. You have to find that weak spot in their very core, and hit it with all you've got.
That is why I would propose to this present day gathering of valiant souls to recognize their power beyond the technological trickery. The leap to take this all to the next level lies really in using that leverage of an election year to it's fullest advantage. A definite and monumental shift to achieve this, that would also eliminate questionable new legions; would be to simply make it mandatory to be registered to vote, in order to march. What better way to take a direct hit to the powers that be? Confronting them not only with growing numbers who are organizing more and more by the second thanks to the internet; but also actually showing the growing numbers of voters who comprise their legion. A representation of playing on a more level battleground for it's implied repercussions if nothing else. Not everyone has to vote if they choose not to; but just the fact that they made the effort to make their voices valid in their country's recognized system. Then you would see some shaking in the shoes and inevtiably more desire to listen, bargain, and quelch that which could mean their demise. Just as the governor of the "great state of Massachusets" chose in his open moment to meet "the people"; I predict more would follow. Forcing the hand of power by their numbers is not enough. Hitting them where it hurts and playing their game right back at them....now that's the foresight and ingenuity that we all rallied behind that led to our success so long ago. Violence breeds violence and leaves a bloody stain on the message and the messengers. True brilliance is realizing your assets and your opponents weaknesses and bringing them to their knees by using their own weapons to conquer and defeat.
It's a simple plan, as simple as the age old "David & Goliath" story. If you try and battle an enemy who lays in wait for your weakness, without thinking beyond the confines of their domain; you will never understand how to challenge them to a battle that is by your design...not theirs.
Let those in power and high places literally have to see a true demonstration of Democracy. It's no longer enough to chant that you are what Democracy looks like; if you don't come equipped to play the game.
It's so simple it's shocking. It's so a part of who we are supposed to be that has been lost; why shouldn't it be the way we win back our claim to our voice. Voters can make a difference still...I dare you to now organize this most American principle and give it back the meaning it deserves.
Afterall, is there a better basic platform than truly exercising our constitutional rights? If you know of a better game in our present day world....let me know. You do still have the power to decide your representation and now you have the numbers to make your own. Cultivate new leaders with this platform and then empower the ones you choose. We really don't have to just sit back and accept candidates chosen by those with more money than desire for our futures. The power is still in the vote and they know it. It's just that they've been able to succeed with every one of us who doesn't exercise it for whatever reason. This is the real wake up call. This is how we can truly take back our country.
More time and money has been spent on making voters feel their vote doesn't count in the last 20 years, than any of us will every know. When the answer was really there all along.
Thank you "Occupy" protestors everywhere for making the first giant step to just do something. Now show us all how to take it all the way home.
"There are three kinds of lies, lies, damned lies, and statistics" Benjamin Disrali
Here's a great e-book download on relying on statistics to shape our thinking.
Here's the link...it's worth a look;)