July 31, 2012 : Dear Kathy, What's Up With This?
Huffpost is a trusted source on all things Occupy. One of the few places that covers Occupy in a “fair and balanced” manner. Today though, the new establishment media trips up, running a piece by high school student Kathy Dong, under the headline “Why Occupy Wall Street Isn't Working,” Today, M-Bed responds and submits the daily update, all in one!
Congrats on your publication in this morning's Huffpost, you're all over the internet!
All right. We know you're a high school senior. And it's great that you're active in your chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, and a photographer for the school yearbook. Very positive stuff. And in your spare time, you are spending too much time on the internet. What's spare time??Anyway...Cool!
We just read your piece on Occupy and it's well-written and all, even somewhat researched . Listen, we were lucky to make the letters section of our school newspaper when we were seniors (actually, we were lucky to make it through High school) so we're basically giving you a pass and blaming Arianna for this one. At least, they could have given you an editor. But like they say in the Future Business Leaders mission statement....time is money..or something like that!
Still, we've got a few bones to pick with you and Arianna on this. It's fine to say OWS isn't working, but for who (whom?)? Whaddya mean??
Your primary gripe is that OWS use of “new technology” - aka the internet - inherently restricts its reach to a younger generation. Well this is news to United States seniors who are now the fastest growing class of internet users. We know, they still prefer old black and white movies with talking and stuff. Given shows like Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, and the new Two and A Half Men, do we blame them?? But there's a lot of, um, research on this that you may want to check out before you write them off entirely. Granted they don't play Farm Life and tweet when they roll into the club. Then again, maybe they do!
We understand it's tough to estimate the numbers of “old people” okay, older people who are actually online. The Pew Institute has done some work on this and over half of them are online, and their numbers are growing, and this is looking at the whole 64+ demographic, including the “oldest of the old.”
Another thing to ask yourself, is how old is old? None of us is gonna live forever. So, the 85 plus demographic, or whatever, let's be honest, they're gonna make way for the OWS kids. Other than Dick Cheney, they don't want to run the world anymore. Just live with dignity with OWS, and the rest of we 99 percenters taking care of them, hoping someone will do the same for us. It's just the nature of things.
Oh yeah the lack of leadership thing. You may have something there. It sure would be great if the tooth fairy would leave a brand new, better, more equitable economic system under our pillows. Hey, those were good days!
But as every senior knows, there's no tooth fairy. No one person has the answer, and OWS learned this the hard way. Candidate Obama said lots of things, became Prez, tried a few, and gave up on a good many more, and even changed course. And some may not admit it, but most of us - including OWS - would too if we were sat down with VIPs from the intelligence agencies and the military and were told, these people are trying to blow us up and if any Americans get hurt or killed it's your fault. Remember, this is post 9-11 America.
As far as Occupy “threatening the livelihoods of many people who are not part of the protest, which can be clearly seen in Zuccotti Park, the symbolic base of the movement,” well, c'mon Kathy. First , where's the proof of that. Okay, you've got the Ibtimes article, but that's from November 2011 and pulled from NY Post. And that's fine, but is Huffpost now relying on the Post for sound economic research?? WTF??? The article contains some fuzzy math, and it doesn't take into account the earlier boom to the foot traffic the protests caused.
And no offense, but we gotta ask, you been down there lately? There's not too many small shop boutiques right near Zuccotti, plus a number of tourists we saw on numerous trips actually seemed to be creating foot traffic and business. How about all those battery and water sales!!
We understand – sort of - how alternative economic development models are based on more than water and pizza slices but hey it's a start, right? And it didn't seem like the local Starbucks exactly suffered either. Look, the merchants we talk to on Canal Street – where most of the shops are - are less than thrilled, we get that. But they're not all opposed either.
Another thing is, the mom and type stores we think you're talking about aren't exactly making out like bandits under the current system OWS is protesting, either. In fact, they're kinda getting f—kd. If they can't see it, well yeah, it's a problem. And not one with an easy answer.
And if OWS has let you down, personally, well it's not for not trying. Is Occupy Homes a waste of time? Look, the Cruz family were being tossed into the street by PNC right? What's a good neighbor supposed to do Uptake.org
Granted, it's not the instant gratification, headline-making stuff from the earlier “Occupations” of 2011. More like boring participatory democracy. You know, the stuff they taught us in elementary school. It's just not sexy to talk about “Responsible Banking Ordinances” in Claremont. Dailybulletin.com But the small stuff can have an impact. Isn't this what everyone told OWS to do??And let's say it goes nowhere or does nothing. At least they're trying and we bet it feels good to you know, actually do something. Not that we'd know!
Some of these foreclosed homes and properties, so long as the occupiers are peaceful and respectful (yeah, we know sometimes the party is out of control, but hey, you'll learn more about that in college!), the neighbors see it as improvement. Better than a vacant lot which depresses overall home values and leads to urban blight and the crap that goes with it. At least the folks of Eugene seem to think so Kezi.com
Hey, we're keyboard jockeys too. So we feel your pain. It's tough to get out there. But you gotta do these old fashioned things like meet people, have actual conversations and get into it.
And if you checked out Zuccotti at its height last fall, you would have seen they were doing exactly that kind of stuff. And frankly you're a bit young to be so cynical. What is up with that?
When you say things like "The issues they raise are essential to the well-being of the United States, but the protest methods have neither been beneficial or impactful" - I mean, you sound like our parents - no offense mom!
Lately occupy seems more like a tactic than a brand. And believe it or not, America doesn't possess the monopoly on it. The Chinese can Occupy too. Like they're doing at a local government office to protest an industrial waste pipeline they say is going to poison their waters. Same sh-t, different country right? Reuters
And the cops haven't made it easy for them either. Did you see our last round-up on that 4 university law school report? (here's the link) You may want to check out Todd Gitlin's piece in the Guardian too. He's seen, and participated, in a few social movements too.
Finally, ask yourself, if it was really such a lost cause and so ineffectual as you say, why the allocation of significant police/government resources to stomp it out? I mean if it scares the sh-t out of billionaires like Jeff Green that's something, right? The Real Deal
This is another thing Kathy, no one likes Debbie Downer. Especially the Future Business Leaders of America! So what if OWS is chipping away at the stone, and it's glacial, but Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact,according to some, evidence of stone tools, pottery and stone weapons attest to at least 10000 years of human presence leading up to it! But remember the story of the guy who hit the boulder twenty million times before the stone broke? (It's on the internet, somewhere)
And let's not predict the end of the world here either. It's nice when pumps pump gas,ATM machines spit bills, and the AC works when its a hundred degrees. We both know no one, or no one group has all the answers.
Anyway, we're hardly ones to give advice but maybe we all need to heed Rhianna's words of wisdom and "don't let the bastards get you down.” And even though it's only Tuesday, cheers for the freakin' weekend, we'll drink to that. You can too - once you're of age, of course!
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