I really like protests. For years I’ve wanted to participate in a protest that caused a societal shift resulting in a positive historical change for the entire nation. I’ve always had a romantic vision of myself carrying a poster, chanting with fellow protestors, marching towards a better tomorrow. My grandchildren would do a school project on me titled “How One Person Can Change a Nation.”
I’ve had a difficult time finding a protest that I believed in that also had a short march route. I have plantar fasciitis and my feet really hurt when I walk on concrete. So I was pleased when I discovered that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement was coming to town and a peaceful protest was planned with an optional short distance walk. I thought, “A ha! Here is my chance to effect our social fabric forever and star in a school project thirty years from now.”
Unfortunately, the purpose of the OWS movement is unclear to me. I don’t know who’s in charge over there but the first thing I would tell them is that the movement needs a better name. The name isn’t a movie teaser to later be revealed in a theater near you. My suggestion is self-explanatory, Everyone Eschew Wall Street (EEWS).
I did a bit of research to see what the OWS hullabaloo is all about. Boston College Political Science Professor, Alan Wolfe said that “The issues that OWS deal with are global in nature…OWS speaks more to the general interest of making society fairer to all.” I’m all for global fairness so I decided to join the protest.
I didn’t bring my own poster because I still wasn’t completely clear on the specific issues. I assumed that I would find protest signage I could support. I scanned the signs and a wide range of issues was represented including: “Disarm! Dismantle the War Economy,” “Your Cuts are Killing US,” “Debt is Bondage,” “End Corporatocracy,” “Jail WallStreet Crooks,” “Not only the Rich live Here,” “Time…Banksters Bail Us Out,” “Fund NPR!” “Get Money Out of Politics,” “So You’re Going to Lie Down and Let Them Steamroller You,” “Trickle Down Doesn’t Work. Tax the Top 400,” “Campaign Finance Reform Now.”
Which sign would I march with?
The “Fund NRP!” poster made complete sense to me. We should definitely fund National Public Radio. It’s a great radio station and I would go one step further and say we should initiate a federally funded program that teaches all students how to turn on a radio and listen to NPR.
I thought I caught a glimpse of a sign that read “Reform Now! Star Wars Trilogy Required in Schools!” Now that’s a sign I could support wholeheartedly. I looked at the poster more closely and it said “Reform Now! Stop Wars Trillions Required in Schools!”
If I were a professor grading the protest, in my comments I would say “It’s good that a wide range of issues was represented, however the purpose of the protest was unsuccessfully communicated because there was no cohesive theme among the posters. A successful movement requires more than enthusiasm. A protest is a demonstrative public communication with clear intent.”