Oh lordy, lordy, we have all seen this scene. You have hosted what (in your mind) is the single greatest party in the history of mankind. Food was perfect. The iTunes playlist you carefully crafted over two weeks was received as the pinnacle of all that was cool ... and where did you find that old Sugarcubes song anyway? And now you are coasting down to the end of a fabulous evening, which would be even more fabulous except for one thing.
He won't leave.
Yep, it's that last hanger on. Is there still a drop left in one of those discount vodka bottles? It's a party! He has spent the last five minutes carefully picking out shards of tortilla chips so he can dredge the last lumps of guacamole out of the bowl, this made all the more difficult by the slow and uncontrollable tilting from side to side. One more tilt and, as the Irish are fond of saying, the ground will rise up to meet him.
Mind you, at the beginning of the party, he was the star. He bopped in, no one quite sure whose friend he was exactly. A little crazy, didn't quite talk like everyone else, but something about him just seemed interesting. He had some funny ideas mind you, but as the night wore on, and the music and booze took hold, incredibly interesting conversations started breaking out around him. Changing the world kind of conversations. At least you think they were interesting, because now you are looking at him, hand flailing around inside the tortilla chip bag, and you can't quite figure out what was so interesting three hours ago. All you can think it one thing: will you please, for the love of God, just go home.
I'm looking at you Occupy.
Yes, yes, it was a metaphor, me spinning a little Thurbian fable for our time. And I am going to push this even further. When I say it's time to go home, I mean it's time for the cause to go home. Last week's post received the expected amount of hysterical screaming along the lines of "you are not working for the 99%" and "leaders? Words of wisdom: Don't follow leaders." The consensus seemed to be that I was criticizing OWS because I didn't understand them. Oh trust me, I understand them just fine. This alleged movement has become more about "Occupy" and less about "Wall Street" with each passing moment.
Want proof? I give you People's Exhibit Number One. Last night, Occupy protesters in Berkeley, California, annoyed that the university would not let them camp overnight, came up with a brilliant solution. They strung dozens of balloons from their tents so that they floated just above the ground of Sproul Plaza. Get it? They aren't camping on University grounds, they are camping above University grounds! They found the loophole!
Great going kids, except for one thing. What in the hell does this have to do with Occupy Wall Street? You are spending all your energy on figuring out how to engineer floating tents instead of, I don't know, maybe engineering a message? A stand? A reason for being there in the first place?
And why Berkeley? If you want to be protesting the inequality and injustice in the world, why aren't you down at Stanford instead? After all, you have that little hotspot of conservatism call the Hoover Institute parked just on the other side of the bay. But no, instead you are going to conduct engineering experiments in the middle of the night before you finally have to go back to class, get that degree, and go get a job.
Guess what, you don't represent the 99% either.
It's time for Occupy to go home. And what I mean by that is go back to what got you started. Enough of the parlor games and goofy stands. I was walking down Market Street in San Francisco the week before the San Francisco Police Department took down the satellite encampment dubbed "The Bridge." There were signs about the greedy banks. There were signs about ending the Federal Reserve. And there was a sign to end NAFTA.
NAFTA? How did that get in there? How many of the protesters can even tell you what NAFTA stands for? And I hope the SFPD doesn't stop with that encampment. I hope they tear that whole bloody carcass of a camp in Justin Herman Plaza down. Toss it all away, steam clean that sucker and put up the barricades. Do I sound like a screaming neo-conservative son of a bitch?
Guess what? The truth is the exact opposite. I think all these camps getting torn down across the country is the single best thing that could happen to this movement. Because this is a movement that has stopped moving. They got bogged down in logistics, intransigence and fear. When you are spending more time wondering if the cops are going to tear your camp down, and less time thinking about what you want to do, it's time for a change of perspective. So here's a message from someone you claim is the 1% to you, the 99%: Get your movement moving again. Otherwise you are just going to be just another sad sack cause, groping for that last tortilla chip. Don't let the ground hit you.