October 3, 2011
While Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times opinion article, The Bankers and the Revolutionaries, offers several worthy suggestions, the tone of his article is nonetheless, condescending. He refers to the Occupy Wall Street movement in a minimizing pattern though acknowledging that the movement is more than justified given the wrongs that our elected government has left unaddressed.
There may well be “hundreds of young people” speaking up for other Americans who are too entrenched in their daily struggle to march in the numbers of Tahrir Square but that doesn't make their purpose less important. Their marches may seem periodic by protest standards and the sloganeering of the “youthful protesters” may seem silly to Mr. Kristof, but I beg to differ--this is a beginning.
What these Americans are doing is gaining traction as a greater grassroots movement that speaks to an entrenched pattern of American disenfranchisement. These protests should be seen as a gradual defining and continuation of the protest marches that began in February in Madison, Wisconsin and an awakened reality of Americans that our elected government does not give voice to “people.” If the protestors are young, which I don’t believe they all are, then they are no less valid in their purpose and Mr. Kristof should have said so instead of minimizing their purpose and criticizing the evolution of their defining message.
While Mr. Kristof’s suggested reforms are pragmatic they also do not lend themselves to slogan, sound bite or a larger unified understanding of this movement. In this regard, he's offered nothing in terms of the leadership he claims the movement lacks. Serving the public interest is not relegated to the all knowing journalist who wants to balance along the center line and speak from the pulpit of the Gray Lady. Mr. Kristof, take a position. You’ve written an opinion article for the New York Times, who are “you” afraid of offending--Wall Street?
I would suggest that the unifying vision of this movement become campaign finance reform. Transparency and election reforms that take corporate influence out of our elected government should be the Occupy Wall Street focus--say it! Was that so hard?
That's what I see should become the greater message and purpose of the Occupy Wall Street movement. We should all consider these protest efforts to this moment courageous and important--does youth make that less so? Their slogan may become more crisp and the message unifying the Occupy Wall Street movement may take more time, but it’s time has come none the less.
My suggestion is that this movement and their protest efforts begin to focus on re-aligning the interest of our elected government with the voting public. Demand a call to action that ends the partisan distractions that are fostered by the media, corporate America and self interests, until the American people are once again represented by their government. End self service politics and restore public service government must become the end goal for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The first step in correcting what ails America is campaign finance reform. The only possible way to accomplish this end, as I see it, is by way of a grassroots movement. Politicians aren’t about to cut off their own life lines. We must first change the game rules. This is a movement whose purpose should not have been minimized by Kristof’s New York Times label of "youthful frustration." Bravo to Occupy Wall Street!