Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Occupy Movement

(Re-posted from Out Of Tune)

I know it is probably a little late to be chiming in about the Occupy Wall Street movement at this point but, what the hell, everybody and their mother has voiced their opinion about them at this point so I'll offer my two bits.

Last month my wife, our daughter and I marched with Occupy Chicago. We found, as I expected, a group of people who care deeply about the future of the world and the glaring economic inequity and the damage it has caused. I was proud to have my three-year-old daughter alongside of them. It is not my future they fight for, it is my daughter's.

A big dig at the movement I've heard from the right-wing media is that it is just a bunch of disgruntled young people. This isn't really true, there is representation from all age groups in this movement, though the leadership does seem to be heavy on a younger generation. But even if this was just young people, so what?

Who the fuck do you think makes real change happen in this world? By and large it is young people. Who was marching against the Vietnam war in the 60s? Who fought the civil rights battles alongside Martin Luther King, Jr? The reason we have so many of the leaders and participants of the civil rights movement still with us today is that they were so young back then. Julian Bond helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee when he was 20-years-old, led protests against segregation all through his early 20s, was only 25 when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law and began serving as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives at the age of 27. Stokely Carmichael, Diane Nash and the great John Lewis, other co-founders of the SNCC, were all of similar age. MLK led the Montgomery bus boycott at the age of 26.

Of course this movement is young people. This is what young people do. Our world has done its best to keep them distracted with gadgets, TV, video games, etc to make them as apathetic as possible, but they care about the future a lot more than we want to give them credit. Instead of dismissing them we should be thanking them.

And how can anyone put down a movement for being a bunch of disgruntled young people and then turn around and support the crazy crowd of screaming, angry, middle-aged white people that calls itself the Tea Party?

To the Occupy movement I say this: Stay strong brothers and sisters and screw those people that dismiss you because you're young. Keep fighting for your future and my kid's future.

And, at the risk of sounding like a condescending middle-aged guy, I'm so proud of you. The next generation is not full of nothing but those who have buried their brains in the world of iPods, texting and angry birds. Like I sometimes think.

You are beautiful and I love you.

And thank you.

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