By: Nicole Esplin
Ninety-nine percent of Americans suffer. One percent of Americans lives perfect lives. This idea seems to be the only consistent argument from protestors of the recent “Occupy Wall Street” movement that has taken the country, and world, by storm since September.
On the surface, the Occupy movement appears very shallow. Until researching more, I believed the protestors to be lazy, greedy, ignorant and guilty of the generalization that “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
With little cohesive leadership, the movement has received criticisms about ultimate goals and the purpose behind their movements.
NPR radio published a short Op-Ed podcast where host Neal Conan discussed opinions about the goals of the movement. In one quote, John Avlon of The Daily Beast said, “They have internalized slogans that capture emotions, but are too often unrelated to solutions, and that is a lost opportunity. For example, one frequent battle cry is to replace capitalism with democracy, which sounds great, but makes not a lot of sense.”
This is true, especially at this popular Tumblr site. Here, 14-year-olds to 65-year-olds post pictures of themselves with hand-written notes complaining about their struggles in life. This is where the Occupy movement loses some focus. The protestors should be holding up letters with not only problems, but solutions to gain respect from the government.
In opposition to the criticisms, The Harvard Crimson argued that the United States had lost a sense of “the public” before the Occupy movement started. “The Occupy movements have thus activated a public sphere for having crucially important discussions,” the Crimson reported. “By making their claims legible, their presence visible, and their frustrations threateningly palpable, the protestors are sending a strong message that there needs to be discussions around social inequality, that there should be more public participation in those debates, and that the current system needs to change.”
The movement has successfully created a new way for society to bring a voice to those suffering from social inequality, but it has failed to find a common goal or solution to every protestor’s problems.
If nothing else, the Occupy Movement and other movements from 2011 worldwide forecasted the future of protests with new technology. Social media is now used immensely in spreading ideas and information about events taking place.
The movement has had an impact on American history too, as The Columbus Dispatch reported an “Occupy Everywhere” themed class being offered at a Chicago college.
While skiing in Colorado this Christmas, I saw a shirt with the text “OCCUPY BOULDER: BETTER POWDER.” Until the occupy movement decides on a solution to fix the random complaints from the majority of protestors, I will be following the shirt’s advice and occupying places I enjoy being-bettering my life doing things I love and ignoring the “grass” on other side of the fence. Without looking over, I can convince myself that my grass is lovely here.