Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sumptin' Happenin'

There's something happening. Thousands of people are gathering in the streets protesting. Protesting what, you may ask. You name it. Just protesting.

Occupy Wall Street is a grass-roots activist protest movement without focus, without a leader. People are camping out in parks in various cities. People are getting arrested for disrupting traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. People are dancing and singing in the streets. And it's spreading across the lower 48.

What's driving the protests? Who knows? Public ennui? Corporate greed? Joblessness? Poverty? Loss of the American Dream? Fatigue? Deep-seated fear?
Some protesters want to stamp out corporate greed. Others are worried about what we humans are doing to the environment. Still others just want a job. Everyone wants something, even when they aren't articulating the collective angst that has driven them into the street.

I watched several news clips of the protesters. I saw myself in many of them. In the young girls with their long hair and long skirts, I saw myself protesting the Vietnam war, for women's rights, and against Dow Chemical. In the older protesters, I saw friends who wanted to hang onto the American dream for one more generation. I saw people of all ages hoping to find a way to rediscover a moral compass, personal, corporate and national.

We've lost our way. Our leaders in government haven't a clue how to take us up the next steps out of the mess we're in. We are floundering in deepening ruts of disfunctional government. We see our friends and neighbors struggling to keep going. Many are falling behind. Their children will fall behind.

If Occupy Wall Street, with all its disorganization and energy, turns a new spotlight on our collective problems, then it has a benefit. If not, at least the protesters can say they tried.

And they can vote next year. If they can find candidates who listen, then they should vote for them. If not, then they should vote for the candidate who is closest to their desires. And then they should continue the protests.

If this is our US Autumn, then we need to join the protesters. There's something happening there. What it is ain't exactly clear. We can help make it clearer.