Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy America!

In honor of all the occupying happening back home in the states, I thought I'd write today's blog about just that. Let me preface this by saying that this is my own personal rant so anything I say should not be deemed fact or expert. Furthermore, most of what I say has no political background, possible support, or affiliation to any side besides my own.

The word "occupy" according to a small source, The Merriam-Webster dictionary, has a few definitions. Let's review:

Definition 1. To engage or employ the attention or concentration of - which I believe is what the 99% are intent on doing. "Umm, hello? Remember us over here. The people who make our country run? The teachers, the blue collar workers, the trampled, the have-not what you've got? Pay attention! We're hungry, we're broke, we're jobless, we're homeless, we're angry!"

Definition 2. To reside in as an owner - which is again, what the 99% are doing and what the almighty 1% is pissed about since they are usually residing and owning. "How dare they take up space on our streets. Can't we just send out the police (part of the 99%) and bludgeon them with tear gas?" Not surprisingly, in the world of the 1%, this probably would seem reasonable and legal. After all, they have been robbing us blind for years and telling us its in everyone's best interest.

Definition 3. To take or fill - precisely what the 99% are trying to do and what the 1% are mad about since they are also used to doing the taking or "occupying."

Regardless of what the definition you choose to define "occupy," what is happening here is something I have wanted to see (and take part in) for some time. People making moves trying to change what needs changing. I just didn't think I'd ever see it. Let's face it, too much of my generation is indifferent, lazy, and self-absorbed. (What do I get out of it?) We were the beginning of generations that got too much with too little work. I'm not saying that our generation are all like this, or that we even mean to be. Many people I know are globally conscious of the injustices around them, but not many of them want to actually do anything about it. Others (myself included) were given everything from their parents and still taught that "money doesn't grow on trees" and that "you have to work - hard - for everything you want," but don't know what they can really do to spark change. With that being said, my parents are immigrants (from Cuba nonetheless) and immigrants coming from nothing usually have this view on working hard and taking nothing for granted.

But what about everyone else in this generation of non doers? What's their excuse? Again, this is not to say that I have ever been even close to a political activist, but I am a bit more of a political conversationalist (let's say chatter-ist) and I have had this conversation with a number of people my age. Our grandparents had to endure hard times, wars, depressions. They had to fight for rights that we've since taken for granted. Our parents' era was fighting to end wars across oceans and in their own backyard. What have we fought against? We have never had to really struggle or fight so we have never had to protest... until now. Now, we are at a point in our lives, in our country where people are losing homes, jobs, and financial security faster than Obama could say, "Yes we can." This isn't some problem that we are seeing happen to other people, it's happening to our neighbors, our friends, to us. And people are starting to realize that electing a president doesn't alone cause change - we have to change things. We have to take what we want. We have to get the attention of the powers that be. We have to occupy.

And so here we are on Wall Street. Regrettably, this has come at a time when I am not home in the U.S. and cannot take part in such a significant event in our nation's, and moreover, our generation's history. I would love to march on one of the most famous streets in the world, in one of the most amazing cities in the world (yes, I am very biased in that opinion) and say, "Screw you," to the bankers, politicians, pharmaceutical company CEOs, and all of the other Sheriff of Nottingham greed mongers whose sole purpose is to take from the have less to satisfy their want more.

But such greed can't last much longer. We have awakened to the proverbial "new day" and people are broke enough, screwed enough, and angry enough to take charge and not blindly follow Johnny Bananas into the gauntlet. Look around to notice that things are begining to happen. Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Boston, Oakland, Atlanta, occupy Austin. Occupy Anywhere. Hoards of people coming out and not just talking about change but occupying - getting attention, filling space and residing in it. Occupying 99% of America.

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