On Sept. 17, 2011, in Lower Manhatten's Zuccotti Park, a muddled yet vigorous movement known as "Occupy Wall Street" was borne. It is a motley crew of protestors consisting largely of young, jobless and discontent Americans, frustrated with the with the swelling income inequality that threatens the very existence of the middle class. It has since spread from its New York hub to more than 25 cities across the nation.
The protest-driven movement clearly has its merits. It is a public outcry by the vigilant masses against a woefully inefficient and ineffective government that has failed to serve and protect the people by permitting a crooked corporate culture to exist. Ultimately, their unyielding vitality and resolve to redress the ills of our nation is admirable.
The protest is also similar to the Tea Party movement. Whether the protestors are aware of it or not, they are bemoaning the futile policies of the Obama administration, which have done little to improve the stagnating economy.
Their inability to see this contributed to their unfair scapegoating of "Wall Street" and our financial system as a whole as the sole reason for our economic malaise.
Consequently, many of the ill-advised protestors have been portrayed as "trying to destroy the jobs of working people in the city," as Mayor Bloomberg said, and rightfully so. The productivity of these quasi sit-in protests is also highly suspect.
The protests have led to the arrests of thousands nationwide, particularly in New York City, where unruly demonstrators purporting to be peaceful have openly flouted the warnings of the N.Y.P.D. by flooding major thoroughfares such as the Brooklyn Bridge, defecating police vehicles, and spitting on pedestrians of the suit and tie variety). While that may not characterize all of the participants in this movement, it offers an accurate portrayal of reality, as 99 percent of any body of people is bound to have a few bad apples that can spoil the bunch. The squalid conditions that they have created by essentially trashing Zuccotti Park are equally appalling and counterproductive to their cause. However, it is some of the goals of the movement that are most foreboding.
According to occupywallstreet.org, the people of Occupy Wall Street are "using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends." If their ends are to bring about a "radical rethinking and restructuring of government, power, and wealth in the United States," as they are according to Tracey E. Vitchers of the Huffington Post, then this movement is beyond salvage.
Signs reading "Occupy Everything," brandished by some protestors are even more alarming as they indicate that the people have a right to seize anything and everything, all in the name of "parity" and "fairness." It is not fair when you harass those who have achieved financial success through hard work.
There is no entitlement in America, except the liberties and rights of the Constitution, which afford us to ascend the ladder of opportunity through tenacity and diligence in duty.
As college students ourselves, with job prospects just as dismal as those who occupy Wall Street, we the College Republicans of Hofstra University have some common ground with this controversial movement. Rather than blaming Wall Street and capitalism for our country's trials, the very system that propelled us into prominence as the world's economic dynamo and premier economy, we hold the politicians and the bureaucracy accountable for our nation's woes.
If Occupy Wall Street is to become a viable agent of change, it will undoubtedly have to alter its convoluted message and develop some semblance of organization and leadership. In its current form, they are perceived as a cluster of immature, languid, unemployed squatters, with nothing better to do than air their grievances 24/7 with energy that could be better channeled through job-hunting or planned, organized demonstrations, supplemented by eloquent writing and lobbying of politicians. If Occupy Wall Street were to embrace the message of the 53 percent who pay taxes, who have struggled, and who have overcome, and become civilized, perhaps it would unite the nation and finally give our floundering government a much needed wake-up call.