3 Types of Wall Street Protesters Hurting Their Own Cause
Dear Occupy Wall Street Protesters,It took me awhile to figure out what was bothering me about you. It certainly wasn't because I'm indifferent to the recession. In the last three years, I've had my ass kicked a lot harder than most of my friends, what with losing my house, my car, and my savings, so yeah, protest seems appropriate. Especially, as we enter a third year with no sign of progress.
I shouldn't say no progress. I hear stock in canned goods and shotguns has gone way up.
I see a picture of a giant puppy being sodomized by industrialists.
Protesters Who Think the Problem is Simply Corporate GreedOne of the best things about working in New York City is that I get to go down to the protests and hear countless demonstrators eloquently explaining the abuses of corporate greed and showing how it has tainted a system at the expense of honest hard-working families - or at least that's what I hear as I have my liberal, pinko wet dreams while snoozing on the downtown 2. Unfortunately, what I actually hear is a lot of people talking about "fuckin' Corporate America, man," and that's just about it. That is not the refrain of a successful protest. That's why you never saw this:
Let's keep this a movement about change, not blame. Marching in the streets and calling for retribution from those shadow figures you believe caused the recession like it was a murder is better rhetoric for a lynch mob than people seeking to restructure society. Not to mention that the "fuck Corporate America rallying" cry is easy fodder for Conservatives to say simply, and convincingly, this is a group that hates capitalism.Hating capitalism is not on the table. This is America. Capitalism defines our history, our economy, and our national psyche And the purpose of this protest cannot be a naive attempt to change the very souls of American businesspeople. To punish businesses for their greed. It's the wrong message and counterproductive. Call me jaded, but I thought we all just took it for granted that businesses are amoral creatures driven by profit. Being enraged at Corporate America for being greedy is like reading Cracked.com and being enraged by its use of the list format. This is who we are. In the America I thought I lived in, we expect business-people to be driven by profit, but we rely on our Government to protect us from those abuses. We expect Government to set laws to govern what a business can and cannot do. Government can establish a minimum wage, ban child labor, and tax imports. Government can enact rules against predatory lending or . .. anything if it has the support of the people. And we expect our government to keep us safe from this cold unfeeling beast we call capitalism with things like food stamps, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and social security.Isn't that the relationship we've all agreed on because it makes sense? If you visited the zoo and your whole family were mauled to death by several ferocious tigers, would you march to Indonesia, protesting the insatiable blood-lust of tigers? Would you seek to have tigers removed from the zoo even though they're the biggest attraction, selling the most tickets and keeping everyone in business? Or would you just, y'know, be furious because the Zoo forgot to lock the cages? I thought we all knew tigers were dangerous and we agreed we'd keep them around anyway because we had competent zookeepers and big steel bars.Let this be a protest which defines and demands a structure from our government to protect us from the wild animal of capitalism, because you'll never make a tiger a vegetarian no matter how many of you take a dump in Zucotti Park.
"I have . . . had it up to here with these crackedy ass crackers."
"Tofu? Sure, I'd love some. Just open the cage."
Protesters Who Don't Grasp SymbolismI'm really happy to see that you protesters have spread out across numerous major cities in recent days -- not just because it means a movement is forming, but because Wall Street was a symbolically flawed place to hold the protests in the first place. You know who would love to see the economy pick up? The day traders on Wall Street. Or did you think everyone who worked in the financial district of Manhattan was in that richest one percent you heard about in Reich's link above? Wall Street might be one of the centers of the world's economy, but to point a finger at it as if there is one bad man in a three piece suit, smoking cigars and raping the statue of liberty on his mahogany desk is just simplistic. What about the banks, CEOs, and, perhaps most of all, complicit government leading up to and existing during this recession? There is no shortage of blame, and to focus anger at the flailing stock market makes as much sense as protesting cancer outside Memorial Sloan Kettering.
I always thought the march should be in Washington DC. Look at all the pushback Obama is getting in opposition to his plan that millionaires pay the same percentage in taxes that the middle class does. Don't you think a few thousand angry voters might make a difference in that debate? Or even if you really want the point of this protest to be about prosecuting those in financial quarters who have broken laws with their greed, well, you know they do have a Department of Justice down in D.C. and everything. Why not apply your pressure there? After all, it's not like those corrupt officers of Wall Street were gonna just hand themselves over.
"Call a cab, for Miss Liberty. I'm done."