I'm not always a fan of protests. Living in the Bay Area it's been getting a little out of control here on the left coast. People standing up for criminals who manage to shoot their own selves in their getaways, rallying because their own bad behavior of climbing to the top of commuter trains got their cell phones disabled - never mind the danger they constantly put others in.
Like everyone else - but unlike everyone in big-time media - I've been intrigued about the idea of Occupy Wall Street since its inception. I've been following somewhat closely to see where it's going to go, even though my husband has to explain the demands to me because frankly I'm not so smart when it comes to politics and money.
My concern initially was that a lot of angry people were showing up for the wrong reasons. I still do believe this to be the case after watching many of the videos coming out of various cities. OWS has seriously got to be for Youtube what the iPod was for Apple. Not to downgrade those who protest in sincerity, but I'm willing to bet that many are there and don't even know why. They are there because they don't have lives, are pissed off at someone or are just generally very angry and demanding attention. I'd also bet - and I'm not much of a gambler - that many people are looking to become the next reality TV star out of this.
* GRAPHIC NUDITY *
It's easy for me to question intent - I find it difficult to understand how shaking your bare boobage on the streets of Manhattan supports a cry against Big Business. It ridicules the cause.
"Do a split, do a yell! Shake a tit for old Rydell!"
But then there are the claims of brutality. Truthfully, I don't know what to make of this, and it's one of the reasons I've hesitated to post thus far on the topic. It is frustrating that we catch a glimpse of a cop macing a deaf girl, or another one dragging someone who's been arrested across the ground - my first reaction is that of course, it's overkill. But there's something in me too that knows better than to go on such little information, and we are seeing a lot of arrests and assaults but none of the before and after to support the claims of brutality. This doesn't mean it isn't happening, but how much of it happens on a dare from someone who is begging to be arrested by way of their own actions? And they are the ones who belittle the true injustices on the streets of Manhattan or anywhere else.
In this litigious society that we live in where just about anyone will spin the truth for a dollar, my skepticism is justified. One reason I respect my friend Anthony as a minister of gospel is because he doesn't attack people with whatever random Biblical quote comes in handy, he teaches to always read what comes before it, and after, to get the whole story; to question, and to think.
What turned me off in the beginning was Anonymous being behind it. Faceless people with robotic voices crying out against injustice who turn around and hack websites and put the private information of innocent people to the public is cowardly. Claiming to be victimized by Facebook and calling for a 'shutdown of the site' and thereby punishing those who (albeit begrudgingly) choose to agree to their terms of wiping any privacy from your life is wrong. Speak out, yes. Raise attention to your cause, yes. Bully others to your way of thinking? No.
What has surprised me is that I really thought this protest would burn out as the SF Bay Area BART protests have in a rather quickly dying flame, but just the opposite has happened. Instead, as a wind pushes a raging fire further out of control, cities large and small are joining this movement. A small suburb of the city that is known for its well-off residents held a protest in support of OWS last week, and I'd joked that I'd be shocked if more than ten people showed up - it would cut into shopping time for too many others. Lo and behold, 300+ came out. That's almost as inspirational as the Grinch spreading cheer through Whoville on Christmas Day.
In the end, my support of Occupy Wall Street is conditional, much like the love a parent gives to a redheaded stepchild (I am one, so I can back up the claim). I refuse to view the protesters as a whole, just as I refuse to judge the police as a whole. People make their own choices, and it is those individual choices I'll put in my mind's line-up so I can seperate the power-trippers from the do-rights.
Truly I believe that much of the mess we are rebelling in is of our own (as a whole) creation. We have complacently agreed to let our credit score rule our lives, and the meek mice are now the roaring lions - something that usually never ends without senseless consequences of some kind on both sides of the battlefield.
It's been a long time between civil wars - the blue of the police and the suits against the gray of anonymity are clearly drawn.
Gavin DeGraw - A Change Is Gonna Come
(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, October 17th, 2011