Examining the Remains of Occupy Wall Street

09.17.12 | Filed Under Politik

When the conventions came and went without a noticeable peep from Occupy Wall Street, I had written them off for dead. But when it was reported that there would be a 1 year anniversary event (an occu-versary, if you will), I wanted to go see it. My office is only a 15-20 minute walk from Zucotti Park … and while I have too much to lose, am too secure, and benefit too much from the current paradigm to truly fight the good fight (ie, participate in civil disobedience and get arrested) … I wanted to add to the head count, if nothing else.

The park was … maybe 1/3 full. And I am counting the random people having lunch there. I’m probably also counting the pigeons. It was depressing. I didn’t even smell any weed.

In the end, it’s probably for the best that #OWS never became a legitimate political force. Given the complete lack of nuance or compromise in today’s political rhetoric, we definitely don’t need a Leftist version of the Tea Party. I think that if Obama finds that “Forward” isn’t a hit, he should consider “Let’s Be Adults About This” for a slogan. It might work.

As I walked away feeling disappointed, I reminded myself that #OWS did change the conversation for a while. As suggested by a labor official in this Daily Beast article, had it not been for #OWS, I’m not sure that Obama’s current campaign would have such a populist tone (if not a truly populist agenda, or record of accomplishments). I also wonder if Mitt Romney would give a shit what you think about his tax returns, if #OWS hadn’t gotten so much positive attention last year. Honestly, it’s amazing that the group got any positive attention … a testament to the fact that a huge number of people in this country have a deep distrust of corporate America, a strong sense of empathy for those who have been abused or left behind by it, and complete disbelief that rewarding corporate self-interest is going to get us out of this mess.

After a lady in a power suit next to me started mocking the protestors by yelling “Oh you’re just like Robin Hood, aren’t you?” … I walked away, heading back to my cubicle. I took out my iPhone … queued up the Wild Nothing album that I bought from Amazon.com, and walked to Pret-a-Manger to pick up a Falafel and Red Pepper Wrap … wondering if it would leave me enough calories to get a non-fat latte at Starbucks later. I was gonna need caffeine to get through the rest of my day.