Friday, October 07, 2011

Occupational Therapy

We’ve all heard the ageless admonition “it’s always fun until someone pokes their eye out.” If you’re like me you’re more likely to be on the giving end these days after having received those pearls of wisdom many times during my days of youth. The Occupy Wall Street protest movement has now spawned a similar adage. Those of us of a conservative bent have had a lot of fun mocking the Occupy Wall Street crew for their pointless protests, largely incoherent objectives, and in many cases rank hypocrisy as they freely enjoy the benefits wrought by institutions and individuals they rail against. Well, I can now say from personal experience that circumstances such as this one are always fun until YOUR Congressman pokes their head in. CPC Co-Chairs Applaud Occupy Wall Street Movement:

Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement in solidarity with the demonstrators on Wall Street and around the country:

“We have been inspired by the growing grassroots movements on Wall Street and across the country. We share the anger and frustration of so many Americans who have seen the enormous toll that an unchecked Wall Street has taken on the overwhelming majority of Americans while benefitting the super wealthy. We join the calls for corporate accountability and expanded middle-class opportunity.

“Throughout the summer, CPC Members listened to Americans nationwide describe how it feels to be on the wrong side of the wall between the rich and the rest of us. During the Speakout for Good Jobs Now! tour in New York City, Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland, Minneapolis, Miami and Seattle, we heard compelling stories of Americans struggling to live the American dream while CEO’s and the super rich were given more taxpayer handouts.

“We stand with the American people as they demand corporate accountability and we support their use of peaceful means to improve America.”

I’m sure that inquiring citizens of Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District (such as myself) would like to know exactly which of the Proposed List Of Demands For Occupy Wall St Movement Representative Ellison is so keen on showing support for. The ending of free trade? The imposition of a twenty-dollar an hour minimum wage? The destruction of private health insurance companies? Spending a trillion dollars on infrastructure and ANOTHER trillion on wetlands and decommissioning nuclear power plants? Forgiving ALL debt IMMEDIATELY?

It would seem that if ANY of these proposals were actually to come to pass (suspend disbelief) they would have significant impacts on the residents of the Fifth District to say nothing of the businesses that employ its people and pay taxes. Is it too much for us to ask Representative Ellison to provide a bit more clarity on exactly what he finds so “inspiring” about these protesters of their demands to radically remake society? Of course. Do I actually expect anyone in the local media to hold his feet to the fire on this matter anymore than they have on others? Of course not.

The pointless nature of the whole “Occupy ___” movement was the topic of conversation in the locker room after hockey this morning (yes, hockey players don’t all speak monosyllabically and can actually string sentences together). One of the guys works in the government building in downtown Minneapolis which will apparently be the new target of the “Occupy Minneapolis” crew. He was hoping that they wouldn’t prove to be too disruptive and, in an interesting generational flip-flop, hoping that his father wouldn’t be among those arrested. During a recent conversation, his dad told him that he would be joining the protest because “it was about time someone did something.” When the son inquired exactly what this “something” was, the father replied. “Well, people are angry.” When the son pressed on who people were angry at, why, and what action was to come out of all the yelling, screaming, and “occupying,” his father was unable to provide any clear answers. Which proves that another popular adage “with age comes wisdom” is not applicable in all situations.