Hours after Occupy Congress, some are left wrangling over what’s inherently worst- a botched Congress or a becoming circus movement?
“Shows us what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like!” Croaked a protester in pajamas while shimmying up a traffic light on 14th and Penn. Others clotting streets in the district echoed the theme, seemingly far more concerned with their unintentional caricature of participatory democracy then the hundreds of workers trying to get home to family, dinner, and downtime. Minutes later a smoke bomb is tossed near the White House and four are arrested for crossing the police line. Hours after Occupy Congress, some are left wrangling over what’s inherently worst- a botched Congress or a becoming circus movement?
Despite polls that indicate a majority support among the 99% with the over-arching theme behind Occupy, there remains a discrepancy between the 1,500 who showed up in DC Tuesday night and the rest of the 99%.
In a society of immediacy, change is a smoky concept. While Occupy has succeeded in forcing open dialogue on political-economic corruption, resolution has failed to materialize overnight, which consequently has people questioning the effectiveness of the movement (in macro-political culture, this explains growing public opposition to the Afghanistan conflict and misunderstandings of time relative progress). The fallout of perceptions of failure concerning the movement have essentially begun to reinforce opposition rhetoric and shore up mostly subjective conservative perceptions that the movement is defined by an entitlement mentality of pampered middle class kids. This is an incredibly distracting image, one ill-enforced by a single protestor in pajamas barking about what democracy does and does not look like. The primary issue with Occupy is the lack of measurable benchmarks and action to compliment modern perceptions of time and progress, which is why we have a disconnect between the theme that has given birth to Occupy and Occupy’s attraction to the general populace.
As Clayborne Carson, director of the MLK Papers Project at Stanford, points out that Occupy needs to borrow notes from the civil rights movement and “create a 10-point plan.” National coordination and cooperation between the Occupy movements with measurable checkpoints is an absolute must. The movement needs to demonstrate that it is capable of doing more than simply harangue Congress, otherwise what’s the difference between the whining protestors and sedentary politicians? Carson continues to remark that the movement “needs come critical thinking” and that it needs to “start identifying solutions that are pragmatic, that we can do now.”
Mentality and outreach on an individual level is an absolute necessity. Expecting politicians to enact regulations or clean-up mechanisms to combat inherent systematic corruption is watery at best. University chapters, grassroots solutions, and other engagement activities with a moderate, constructive approach are a must. The system is the way it is because the 99% passively entrenched it. Credit card debt, rash discretionary spending, and popular culture directly reflect that undeniable fact. Unless the movement begins to critically do some in-house cleaning, it will remain epitomized by the pajama protestor hanging from a traffic light declaring, “This is what democracy looks like!”
Because if that’s the case; hell, I’d rather keep Congress.