Occupy Wall Street's New Theme Should Be Election Reform

Occupy Wall Street's New Theme Should Be Election Reform


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!



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  • http://community.nytimes.com/comments/kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/suggestions-for-that-er-tahrir-on-the-hudson/?sort=recommended#preview

    I've provided a like to Nicholas D. Kristof's NYTimes artlice:
    Suggestions for that, er, Tahrir on the Hudson?

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    It seems hardly appropriate for anyone to be suggesting what a movement ought or ought not to encompass unless he or she is willing to stick his little piggy toe out into the fray. Yes?

  • In reply to C Karen Stopford:

    I think he has stuck his "little piggy toe" into the fray but in a minimizing way which serves marginalize the effort don't you agree?

    All protest take time to gain definition and he doesn't say that. Worse media has been less than helpful overall choosing to focus on the police outside of the real context.

    The time has come for accountability at all levels and as I have said it is my opinion that campaign finance reforms are the place to start--we would be unrealistic in thinking that the currently entrenched political system will put the interest of those who financed their election second to the interests of the people they govern.

  • Mr. Kristof {and many of the Times writers with few exceptions} have paid so little attention to the condition that you have correctly spelled out Lawscout ... namely "an entrenched pattern of American disenfranchisement." .... for they are certainly 'disengaged' from sensing or feeling the pain & plight of those who have been most damaged by the actions of the "Champagne Sippers" and their grovelling political sycophants who refuse to cut their 're-election cash flow' from corporate vaults by acting in the peoples interests.

    'Election Reform' is off the table under the current 'rules' that have been drawn up by the 'right' in its various manifestations and power projections. Justice would see all who are honest 'siding' with most of the marchers ... though until the "Citizens United" ruling by 'The Nine' is countermanded/nullified one sees little chance for the 'disenfranchised' to be seriously heeded ... So it goes!

  • Geezer, Election reform will not realistically come about via elected representatives. As I point out, this will take a grass roots movement.

    Realigning the interest of the American people with their elected government, in my opinion is the first step to righting the ship.

    I love you take about the "Champagne Sippers" and their grovelling political sycophants...you are much too kind.

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