Monday, November 28, 2011

Occupational hazard

Today was the deadline the city of Los Angeles gave for the Occupy L.A. protesters to clear out their encampment at City Hall. Well take a look around: they're still there. By now, the turf is worn out and tents are still pitched everywhere. Any taxpayers wanting to quietly relax at this public property they pay for are out of luck. They'll need to share it with hundreds of other people -- most unbathed and unkempt after camping out there for days.

I'm as big of a supporter of the Occupy movement as anyone else. I hate seeing the socio-economic divide growing in our society year by year. I despise the grip Wall Street and corporate America have over our government. The 99% of us have the right to peacefully protest this inequity. But I disagree with the tactics the Occupy movement is using.

Yes, the 99% are raising awareness of the issue by being on the streets but too many of them are doing it unlawfully. All the city of Los Angeles asks is for the protesters to apply for a permit so that it can appropriately protect the health and safety of all at city hall. Yet no one has bothered to apply for one, even though they've been there at city hall for days.

Worse yet, they've picked the wrong place to protest in the first place. The city of Los Angeles has little -- if any -- power to put a stop to the growing power and wealth of the One Percent. The 99% should be occupying Capital Hill because that's the only place where there is the power to end the inequity.

The other tactical error the Occupy movement is making is to not come up with solutions. No matter how many Americans acknowledge the socio-economic divide, it won't stop it from growing. The Occupy movement needs to lay out tangible actions for the powers that be to take to put an end to Wall Street's stranglehold over our economy and government. Until they do so, the 99% have no one to blame for the status quo but themselves.

I have a better idea. The 99% should occupy their respective congressmen's mailboxes and their precinct's ballot boxes. If every one of us wrote to our federal representatives and told them what we want them to do, then threatened to elect someone else next term if our congressman doesn't do what we say, we would get some action out of them. But we'd also have to follow through on our threats instead of continuing to be the same ignorant, apathetic Americans so many of us are.

The best thing about it is that we wouldn't have to brave the hazards of an urban campground to get things done. We could mobilize an occupation from the safety of our own homes and only need to venture out on election day.

No comments: