Thanksgiving Advent, Day Fifteen: Occupy Wall Street
I could ramble on for a long time — not in a “thankfulness” way –with a lot of only vaguely-connected thoughts regarding Occupy Wall Street, corporate accountability, the current state of U.S. politics, media imbalance, economic inequality, police brutality, and a bunch of other things way too big to fit into a blog post. But since I can’t begin to sort those into anything like a coherent enough order to inflict on other people, I’ll excerpt out one tiny slice that does fit into this series:
I’m thankful for the Occupy Wall Street protest, and its cousins all around the country.
Why am I thankful? Because I’d started to believe, in a fatalistic, “fuck it, I might as well just give up” kind of way, that the political left in this country had lost its will to fight. Let them pass draconian anti-immigration laws, state constitutional amendments against gay marriage, tax cuts for the people who don’t need them, cuts to benefits for the people who do, religious initiatives and attacks on women’s rights and wars that never end — we’ll just sigh and turn on the Xbox for some mindless entertainment.
No. We’ll protest. And not just through meaningless online petitions that only require a few clicks of the mouse: through physical action, through civil disobedience, through a movement that persists until the media can’t ignore it anymore. And this isn’t Tea Party-style activism, either, where the big corporate interests barely even try to hide their hand inside the puppet: it’s grass-roots instead of astroturf. It’s real.
Which isn’t the same thing as perfect. The movement is more a thousand-voiced scream of frustration and rage than a single message; there are so many things that need fixing, so many of them intertwined, that it isn’t as simple as (say) an anti-war protest, whose win condition is clear. OWS supporters want lots of things, and don’t necessarily agree on how any of them should be achieved.
But it’s my end of the political spectrum finally speaking up. Finally fighting. And doing it with enough force and persistence that people are paying attention. The United States is a big ship; she’s slow to turn, and we may not (probably won’t) get her on exactly the heading I’d like to see. Still: every degree of turn is a victory. I’m glad to see so many people do, in fact, have the will to grab the tiller and pull.