I understand why protests are popular with America’s Left. They’re action in the face of an apathetic populace. They’re inspiration when the President’s has run dry.
They’re also easy. Camping out on Wall Street or going out for a few hours to hold a sign isn’t really that hard.
Much of the sloganeering at “Occupy Wall Street” is pretty silly — but so is the self-righteous sloganeering of Wall Street itself. And if a ragtag band of youthful protesters can help bring a dose of accountability and equity to our financial system, more power to them.
Mr. Kristof raises a good point. Most of the “silly” sloganeering is being orchestrated by those youth protestors. It says a lot that the general consensus is that this photo is still the most powerful image to emerge from the protests thus far. It’s not a bunch of well-intentioned neo-hippies holding signs with well-worn slogans and catchphrases. These are pilots. This a class of folks with which most Americans are very familiar, respect and hold in high esteem.
Now, unlike just showing up to hold a sign, pulling together a bunch of different people and groups, effectively marketing and broadcasting details about the event and providing resources to protestors once they show up, that’s nothing to sneer at. But even then, that effort, like that of the sign-holders, has to be measured in terms of how much change it effects, same as the effort of the actual “occupiers,” so to speak.
And that’s what this is supposed to be about, isn’t it? Changing things. Supposedly, this is the beginning of an “October offensive” by liberals, an American Autumn (which, I have to admit, actually does have a ring to it) to usher back in to power the silent progressive majority. (Someone forgot to tell them that it isn’t 2012 yet.) But, like the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, the One Nation rally, the Restoring Honor rally, etc., etc. the occupation of Wall Street won’t change things.
If these occupiers were so set on changing things they might heed a paraphrased sentiment of Saul Alinsky’s:
Go back to school, get finance degrees, find jobs on Wall Street, (either at investment banks or at the SEC) and before the next financial calamity, you be the ones calling the shots.
But that wouldn’t be easy. That would be difficult, long work. And, unfortunately, it might also be the our best shot at actually changing the culture of corruption and greed that has permeated our financial, governing and regulatory institutions.
Zach Wahls is a contributor to The College Fix.