7 Things Occupy Wall Street Has Shown Me

Occupy Wall Street are this group in Lower Manhattan. They have been there a few weeks; they claim they will be there a lot longer. They are protesting corporate greed, corruption, crony capitalism; or whatever. I’m not even really sure what they’re protesting anymore. I don’t even know if they have figured out what they are protesting collectively. I’ve been sparring with some friends on Facebook over this. I come from the theatre; I come from quasi-liberal roots. My dad always told me “fiscal conservative; social liberal,” when he was working in the news/entertainment industry. Now I think he’s hardened his edges a little. My hippie mom I think has grown even more rigidly hippie; in the Oprah my-life-is-my-own vein. So let’s just say I was exposed to both. Growing up my heroes reflected that; Holden Caulfield and Alex P. Keaton may be two of my most pointed examples. I’m a drifter; I’m a wayward soul; I’m a little lost most of the time but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay a nickle more than I have to for it. Still Occupy Wall Street has served a greater purpose maybe even than in stopping these corrupt practices. Occupy Wall Street has held a mirror up to our own selves and helped us to examine our own part in these criminal exercises. Here are a few things I realized because of and thanks to Occupy Wall Street.

7) Most People Don’t Know What “Wall Street” Means: Occupy Wall Street is happening in a place. Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan is a smallish place as the island narrows and comes to a point, but the many twists and turns of individual streets can get people a little lost. Zuccotti Park at the northern point is across the street from the World Trade Center site for those who know where that is. However Occupy Wall Street is really a rejection of things going on all over the world. Finance ministers of foreign countries dealing with corporations to hide offshore assets from domestic taxation; local representatives from towns small and cities big taking money to push legislation through which will help big businesses; millionaires and billionaires fleecing the system with their high priced tax attorneys from their yachts in the Cayman Islands. The place where they are; the New York Stock Exchange; “Wall Street;” may be where a lot of these transactions pass through but the workers and residents of “Wall Street” are not where a lot of their anger should be directed.

6) Most People (At Occupy Wall Street) Think Democrats Are on Their Side: It’s interesting that Barack Obama has spoken about Occupy Wall Street. It’s interesting that many democrats are now coming out in support of this movement. Interesting because democrats are just as potentially corrupt as republicans; if not more so. But when I was down there many of the signs spoke out about “freedom from republican tyranny.” I don’t want to get into a fight with anyone about who the worse party is (should we shoot you in the head with a semi-automatic weapon or let you bleed slowly to death?) It’s just interesting.

5) Jobs Are Not As Important As Justice: I don’t have any figures but many of the people down there have to be unemployed; they smell too funky not to be. I’ve been out of work for a long time; I’d like to think I’d really stick to a job if things came together for me. But to many of these people from Occupy Wall Street, the justice thing is a bigger fish to fry.

4) Living in Cardboard Really Works for Some: I can’t help but consider the homeless whenever I see them wrapped in dirty cardboard boxes. For many in the occupy Wall Street ranks who have built a whole cardboard city, this lodging fits them well and suits them nicely.

3) Peaceful Protesting Turns to Aggression Quickly: I know there’s all this “video” surfacing about how the peaceful protesters are being relegated to a “police state” by the NYPD, but I saw with my own eyes many protesters getting rowdy, screaming in police officers faces, and trying to cause a ruckus. When the NYPD tried to restore order, that was when the video cameras were all in the officers faces. It’s a little disingenuous to call the cops bad and yourself righteous if you’re not going to show the whole thing.

2) No One Listens to Anyone Else When “Passion” is Involved: Everyone I’ve been talking to about this is like George W. Bush; “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” I get it that people have their ideas about what this whole thing is about, but at the end of the day it’s just a colossal waste of time.

1) People Are Largely Selfish: Say what you will about Occupy Wall Street; I can’t get past the fact that these people are really selfish. They have not taken into account the lives of the people who live and work downtown who are inconvenienced by this fracas. The protesters have not figured out any way for their “list of 13 demands” to actually be implemented and paid for; they have not considered the tax dollars they are weaseling out of the system from all the overtime the NYPD has to pay to its officers; overtime which every New Yorker will inevitably have to pay for. If this cost is big enough it’s even a cost which will get heaped onto the vacationer.

America’s a great place because something like Occupy Wall Street and the little offshoots which are popping up can even take place. But the people participating in this should think about some of these things I have been.

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