(This post is a part of Absolute Write’s September Blog Chain. Check out the others at the bottom–good reads!)
This Saturday is the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. I am not directly involved with them, I live in a small Midwestern town down a long empty road, but I think the movement means something to me and to most Americans. I invite y’all to share your own perceptions on Occupy as well.
First off, I admire Occupy’s unbreakable moxie. As a former activist, sometimes still pulled out of my closet by an urgent cause, I can testify to just how emotionally draining activism can be. No matter how hard you work, no matter how successful you are at it, it’s never enough–not ever. There’s always someone more to help, always a flaw in what you did accomplish, but Occupy’s collective attitude seems to be, “Hey, we’ll get to it. There’s room for every voice.”
Second, I love their spontaneity. Nobody expected for average Americans to just show up and camp out on Wall Street. And that was because they really weren’t very organized about it. Just sort of showed up and did their best. They got heard, not because they had been coached on how to get a message out, not because they had a huge budget, but because they just stood there until people listened. In this day & age, we talk about issues for a few seconds, maybe minutes. Staying on topic, literally standing in one place was sort of like reverse-political crank.
Third, when they first started I adored their pure innocence. Yes, I know most people wouldn’t call them innocent anymore, but when they first started, they were so very effective because of their beautiful ignorance of the established political playing field. Many years ago, I started out armed with that same ignorance and believe it’s any activist’s strongest weapon. Once you let yourself fall into your specified “place” in the debate, you’ve lost your edge. My advice is to nurture your ignorance of the political game. Practice innocence.
Fourth, I respect their flaws. The political far-left LOVES to point out any movement’s flaws–the far right too. When you first appear on the scene, you get a week of ‘Hey so glad you’re doing this,’ after that it’s mostly critique. ‘You know, I hear you had 500 demonstrators. How come you can’t break 1000?’ That comment usually comes from someone who claims to be part of your movement, but didn’t show up to the event. Or another person might say, ‘In London they did this huge, amazing event, why can’t y’all do that in Houston?’ For starters, London is the capitol of a nation with a huge politically active contingent. Houston is a politically sleepy oiltown. Everything to scale folks. But my biggest beef with the naysayers is the food police.: “I’m glad that y’all decided to feed the participants, but you should have served organic, raw, vegan food grown within 20 miles of here.” The difference between an activist and an intellectual is that the intellectual knows what needs to be done, but when he thinks about how to do it perfectly, he can’t achieve it–so he never does anything. The activist figures out what he can do–then does his best. While some political activists eat really carefully themselves, I’ve never met an effective one who tries to force his food views on other people. Sorry, but you can’t open minds while denying someone their french fries.
Sixth, I’m impressed by their growth. I don’t mean their numbers, but their improved wisdom and their accumulation of skills. Their use of the internet and social media is superb. My fave paper is the “Occupied New York Times.” I hope they continue to balance that wisdom with practiced ignorance.
And finally, I gotta love their anger:a mid-air Molotov Cocktail of divergent outrage–so many converging ideas. It seems to have reached its apex of flight and is careening toward the target.
May it hit the mark.
This post is part of the Absolute Write Water Cooler’s September Blog Chain. Our theme: the number 7. There have been some awesome posts, check them out:
Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BBBurke – http://www.awritersprogression.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
meowzbark – http://erlessard.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AFord – http://writeword.blog.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Kricket – http://kricketwrites.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)