While preparing my morning coffee and instant oatmeal, I overheard a conversation between three twenty-something colleagues of mine. They were discussing Occupy Wall Street (OWS) outside a conference room that just happened to be named Wall Street. The takeaways from this three-way chat were as follows:
- I’m not right-wing but I can’t get behind people who hate my country;
- They don’t even know what the hell they’re bitching about;
- They’re jealous that we have jobs and they don’t.
Since I’d yet to sip my breakfast blend and gain any sort of caffeinated focus, I decided to curb my progressive frustration until I reached my desk. And now that I have pen in hand and a few sips of coffee in my system, I can comment on this maddening and prevalent OWS bias.
#1 – It’s Un-American to support OWS
For shits and giggles, I looked up the term Un-American online. Wikipedia defines it as “deviating from U.S. norms”. Allow me to share some of the U.S. norms:
- The wealthiest 10% of Americans control 2/3 of the nation’s net worth
- The average CEO makes 185 x more than the average worker
- Corporate profits are rising along with unemployment rates
- More than 3/4 of the population is living paycheck to paycheck
These are just a few of the US norms Occupy Wall Street is acting all Un-American about.
# 2 – OWS doesn’t have a main issue they’re fighting for
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if OWS could organize its angry, Un-American thoughts on one national ill? Yeah, that would be nice. Problem is there’s a heck of a lot more negatively impacting our nation than one core issue. The bullet points above are a good start. But wait, there’s the problem of:
- Continuing wars that are costing us financial and human capital
- Threating to destroy the already fledging public education system thereby solidifying the power of the 1%
- Attacking labor unions and pro-worker groups
- Fear-based pandering on both sides of the Congressional aisle that stymied true healthcare reform
OWS picking a single issue to stand against kind of seems a little silly now, doesn’t it?
# 3 – That old jealousy excuse
This is a strange one because it is highly unlikely that the total combined income of my three colleagues gets them anywhere near 1% territory. So what’s the jealousy thing about?
The mainstream media has done a bang up job portraying OWS as a collaboration of homeless, smelly people. Clearly, the mainstreamers haven’t taken a ride on the ‘R’ train; a New York City local train that is rapidly becoming the homeless express.
Mainstream coverage of OWS could explain the jealousy angle. But what about the protesters who have taken days off from work, days from their Wall Street jobs, days away from their small businesses, to show solidarity? Where is the coverage of these Un-American citizens?
The moment the coverage of OWS strays from it being a playground for degenerate, hippie mobs to an uprising of the actual heart and soul of Un-America, the 99%, the rest of us, that’s the moment OWS will no longer be saddled by calls to unite against a single cause. That’s the moment OWS will be universally embraced from the financial districts of Boston through the Main Street Districts of Topeka. That’s the moment the movement is waiting for.
Until then, we’ll each have to do a better job of setting the record straight even if it’s one breakfast blend coffee cup at a time.