Monday, October 03, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: A study in how not to be taken seriously

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Ballerina on a bull (or something)
Apparently the Occupy Wall Street mascot, or something. I have no idea.

I haven’t exactly been paying close attention to the Occupy Wall Street protests that have been rambling on in downtown Manhattan for the last few weeks. For some reason, a gaggle of random unaffiliated malcontents out to cause a ruckus in their quest to pester anyone and everyone in charge with their unfocused dissatisfaction with the system is not what I consider to be an effective means of getting the powers that be to take one and their cause seriously. Arguably the biggest problem is the protest’s notorious lack of any consistent demands; how do you expect to instigate change if you can’t even decide on what it is you want in the first place?

Oh, but wait. Someone has stepped up to the plate. Here’s a certain Lloyd J. Hart, taking to the apparent official Occupy Wall Street HQ and finally giving us a concrete list of what those protestors want done (summarized for brevity and clarity):

  • 1) Restore living wage, end free trade, raise minimum wage to $20/hour.

  • 2) Establish universal single-payer healthcare, ban all private insurers.

  • 3) Establish guaranteed living wage.

  • 4) Provide free college education.

  • 5) End fossil fuel economy and increase alternative energy production.

  • 6) Provide $1 trillion in infrastructure immediately.

  • 7) Provide $1 trillion in ecological restoration, ban all nuclear energy.

  • 8) Pass racial and gender equality amendment.

  • 9) Open all borders.

  • 10) Reform U.S. elections system.

  • 11) Erase all debt for everyone (sovereign debt, commercial loans, mortgages, equity loans, student loans, credit, etc.) immediately!

  • 12) Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

  • 13) Allow all workers to establish and/or participate in unions.

14) Puppies for everyone. 15) Paint smiley face on the Moon. 16) Replace vehicular travel with pegasi.

Look, I understand the reasoning and the need for many, if not most, of these proposed changes. Really, I do. But you have to be living either far up in the clouds or deep within the recesses of your own rectum to believe that virtually any of these reforms have the slightest hint of a ghost of a chance of even being considered seriously, much less enacted. There may certainly come a time when the socio-political climate in the U.S. changes sufficiently towards liberalism for these changes to become feasible, but for now, they are as laughable as is anyone who honestly believes they could possibly succeed at passing them.

These demands are dreamy and idealistic, and that’s the problem – they sacrifice pragmatism in exchange for dewy-eyed hopes and dreams, presenting “solutions” that would either exacerbate current problems or simply conjure up a whole new bunch. Don’t get me wrong; all of the ideas expressed in this list are honorable, but if treated as standalone requisites for an improved country without any real solid plan of action behind them – much less, as far as I can tell, any actual plan at all – then these demands, and the movement that spawn them, are only doomed to fail.

These people really need to come back down to Earth. Wanting change is one thing; getting it done is quite another. If they really think their little shenanigans on Wall Street are going to accomplish anything, at least in the protest’s current confused form, then they’re just plain crazy.

Edit: 10/04/11 3:20 PM – Rephrased my closing thoughts a bit better.