There are times when one is perfectly aware of the silliness they are facing. Times when the pieces fall together and you looking at something so ridiculous you know deep in your heart that something is wrong.
I mean wrong. Not along the lines of maybe I should toodle through this stop sign when no one is looking because, well, no one is looking. Or I will pull the full linear Seinfeld and double dip something in something. Don't worry, I can't remember that episode either.
Nope, we are not talking wrong along those lines. We are not talking wrong that makes you look up at the ceiling with a cheesy smile on your face and you think with that internal Meg Ryan voice everyone has gosh, that was embarrassing.
We are talking wrong, folks. Throwing the planet sideways, volcanoes appearing in the middle of intersections, Heidi breaking into the final moments of a football game. Biblical wrong. Jerry Bruckheimer wrong. People are going have to be flogged wrong. Repeatedly. Yes, it's that wrong.
I'm talking Occupy Wall Street.
Oh yes, I went there. There is something inherently wrong here. And that's the first problem: here. Where exactly is here? Great movements have great moments. Moments have great leaders, who pull up all those around them in the name of a helpless cause. Who strive against hopeless odds and pull in those that would resist them in a gravitational pull that leads inevitably, inexorably, to victory.
This ain't it kids. Oh don't get me wrong, there is definitely something amiss in the state of Denmark, a line that has someone been crossed in the world around us. The American Dream has become, well, a dream. As in good luck. As in close your eyes and think happy thoughts because when you open them you are back here. Here in lower/upper/falling listlessly towards the bottom of the barrel middle-income America. And it feels like we are all lower income America now, doesn't it.
But that's not the wrong I am talking about. Nope, that is certainly a depressing state of affairs, but the wrong is the people who claim they are representing us all in this universal call for help. The Keystone Kops of protesters that are Occupy Whatever.
Do you get the feeling watching these folks that they really have no idea what they are doing? Somehow they wound up here, on this stage, at this juncture, almost by mistake. I'm sorry; I should have taken a left at Albuquerque. It's like a running back in football, on the final play of a Super Bowl where the score is tied and there is one second left on the clock. The hands of fate, of hard work, of perseverance, have led to this one moment where you get to carry the ball because now is the time! And your response is...
Look at how protesters in Europe go about this business. France? They are a well-oiled machine that has been tuned over decades of action. In fact, if you open a French newspaper, right next to the television listings is the listings for this week's protests. Hey Francois, finish your lunch, I think we can still catch the teacher's strike at two. And although they may be late to this protest thing, you have to hand it to the Greeks, who are learning on the job, but doing quite magnificently. Granted, they tend to overstretch a bit, as all rookies are prone to do. What do you want? Everything! What would you like to do? Nothing! But there is a certain purity to their message that you have to respect.
Versus our good friends at Occupy who stand for... um... ahhhh... no frickin' clue. Occupy Wall Street seems to be chiefly focused on, well, occupying things. Hey, here's a nice park, let's occupy it. And the mayor then goes to the standard protest playbook and asks what they want. And guess what... they have no idea what they want. Not a clue in the world. So they peel off into their excruciatingly annoying human megaphone routine. I would like (I would like!)... something to happen (something to happen!)... to someone that made something bad happen (wheeeeee... when do we eat?).
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Cries of "head to the barricades!" have been replaced with "we would like (we would like!)... some wood (some wood!)... to make (to make!)... a barricade (excuse me, when do we eat?)" The reality is that great movements are not consensus gigs; they are dictatorships.
And here is where the totality of the wrongness comes into focus. Do you remember who Martin Luther King's right hand man was? Me neither. Who stood next to Malcolm X? I'm drawing a blank. The greatest speech in civil rights history did not start with the word "we." It started with "I" as in "I have a dream." In their desperately flopping attempt to fight the leaders of the country, Occupy has forgotten the most important factor for any movement: a leader. A face. Someone who embodies the angst, the pain, the hopes, and the desires of a country. Someone who at the end of the day is the vessel of your message, and your dream. And maybe the reason Occupy has no leader, is they have no dream. And just like the rest of us middle-class slobs, their American dream is no better than ours. A dream is a dream is a dream. Time to wake up, kids.
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