Thursday, November 03, 2011

Occupy Oakland Flexes Muscle; Accomplishes Nothing

It's obvious that the Occupy Wallstreet people have made an impact.  And yet, it really troubles me that at some point, they're going to realize that the 99% does not, in fact, want what the protesters want; and in no case was this going to result in the death of capitalism, the destruction of our financial system, or the end of politics as we know it.

And if you're one of those OWS supporters who say "Hey, not all the protesters want to end capitalism," then you're in agreement with me that the tiny percent of people who do want these things are going to be sorely disappointed when it never happens.  Because yes, there are people of all walks of life who support this movement, but the truly hardcore, the ones who are truly occupying these places, aren't mainstream and they don't represent the rest of us.

And so I'm reading about how the Occupy Oakland people shut down the Port of Oakland.  Why?  To stop the flow of capitalism.  And I mean, huh?  You really think you're going to score points by preventing the delivery of cheap TV's and audio equipment.  That's a pretty damn quick way to lose the masses.

And they actually declared a victory from all this.  Seriously.
Hours later the crowd began to dwindle and a voice on a bullhorn declared a victory for the movement, saying, "The port has been shut down. Let's head back to the plaza."
Of course.  They temporarily shut the port down.  Huzzah!

And seriously, what is the matter with these people?  What makes them think that the 99% wants an end to capitalism.  Or more importantly, an end to getting all the those great products we get from overseas?  Seriously, do they not realize who's buying this stuff?  It's the 99.99%.  And it's not because we're brainwashed.  It's because we like these things.  And if we didn't like cheap electronics, we wouldn't buy them.  So why are they trying to screw with this?

Burning to Burn

But here's what really got me:
As protesters left the area on foot some stopped to burn money, others bickered, and one burned an American flag.
Zachary RunningWolf, a well-known Bay Area activist, said he burned the flag "to start an educated discussion among us."
And seriously, what kind of discussion would this be, even in a perfect world?  Assuming he proved his point and everyone agreed he had the right to burn the flag, there'd be no point in doing it at all!  Would that mean that we couldn't have educated discussions anymore?  Would we all stand around daring each other to be offended by it, just to give us something to talk about?  Should we start burning books, in case that's good for discussion too?

Seriously, I'd feel stupid even partaking in such a lame discussion.  Go back to the 60's, wannabe hippy!  We've got real problems to deal with, not phony baloney made up stuff about burning flags.  Obama made it so insurers can't deny healthcare to babies born with birth defects, while this bozo imagines he's saving the world by burning a flag.  How pathetic.

And the punchline is that what he really wanted was attention.  He wanted people to be offended, maybe attack him, possibly get arrested.  And from that, he could pontificate about freedom and liberty and about how all he wanted was an educated discussion, when what he really wanted was attention.  Because burning the flag isn't an end of itself.  It's not its own purpose, and the only reason you'd do it is if you're trying to get attention.  Period.

The 100%

And really, what the hardcore protesters really want is what we all want: A sense of purpose.  To feel like you're part of something, to help give meaning to our meaningless lives.  And that's why this will only end in tears for them.  Because they don't really know how our system works, or how it benefits them, or why other people prefer it, or any kind of sensible alternative.  All they know is that they're dissatisfied and for this brief time, people are finally listening to them.

And the reason they have no end game is because there isn't an end game to all this.  And our best hope is that they do what they did at the port, by declaring a nothing victory so they can he'd back and do nothing again.  They have a superficial understanding of how our system works, and that's why they have superficial goals.  They protest for the right to protest, shut down a part of the sake of shutting down a port, and burn flags for the sake of burning flags.  There one true goal to all this is simply to have a goal and to do it together.

And as much as they imagine they've really got the best interests of America in mind, all they're really doing this for is themselves.  And if they had their way, there would be no Walmarts, banks couldn't give me credit cards, Christmas wouldn't be a time for buying presents, and 99.99% of America would be PISSED.


Doctor Biobrain said...

I think what bugs me so much about the flag burning guy isn't necessarily because what he's doing is so pointless; even though it is. It's that it's so needlessly offensive. Right or wrong, many people really do have special feelings for the flag and burning it is only done to offend them.

For me, the whole point of being "politically correct" was about respect for others. Whether or not you like someone, you should always be respectful of their beliefs and culture. And that includes being respectful of people who were raised to revere the flag as a symbol for America.

Anyone who can't understand that is a close-minded bigot, period. It doesn't matter if it's about respecting a Muslim's requirement to pray, or an Indian's sacred burial grounds, or an acknowledgement as to why the Confederate flag is so offensive. We're all human beings and we all deserve respect. And anyone who goes out of their way to offend people as a way of "starting a dialogue" needs to shut the hell up and start listening to others.

Sorry people, but respect is a two-way street. You can't accept people to respect you if you don't respect them. And if your argument is that the other guy didn't respect you first, then you missed the point entirely.

Faded said...

They are doing the hard work, so obviously, yes, they aren't the other 98% of us, who do realize we are being screwed by 1% but can't seem to muster the energy or motivation to do anything but bitch about it, occasionally.

Burning a flag will piss off some large group of Americans. True. And it will alienate those. But, I can't disagree with it, that much. I understand. That flag doesnt stand for what it used to. Our country is what it is, right now. It could be better. These folks are patriotic in a very pure sense- they are out there, because they actually BELIEVE their voice counts. I aint out there. I got to go to work. I got to put food on the table, lucky me, cuz i can. They believe that protest can work. They believe that if they can draw more attention to the root cause of the problem in our country's economic and moral (yep, i said it, but probably not meant in the same way most amerkans say it) downfall-will make lethargic middle america take notice. AND, yes, affecting the bottom line of corporations by fucking with a port for a couple of hours will be a thorn in some corporate spreadsheet this quarter. Maybe, maybe not.
They Believe in America. They wouldnt be out there if they didnt.

I admire the hell out of that.

Because, I don't any more. Its kind of like wanting to believe in Love, or some shit. I want to, late at night, when I've had about four too many drinks.

So "God bless their dumb asses". These folks, flag-burners and all, are whats left of our country's soul. Mine, damn me to hell, has fled. If we have a hope to survive, its in another quote I read tonight: "Injustice will be ended when those who are not wronged are as indignant as those who are"
It's far, far too late for Me to start holding my breath, but I save a last gasp for those with the Gods-defying audacity to do so.