They don’t make’em like they used to

Let’s flash back to May 4, 1970. Four students, ranging from 19 to 21 years of age, at Kent State University lie dead after being gunned down by the National Guard during a protest. The goal of the protest? Well, originally it was to protest the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, but anger steered towards the National Guard forcing itself upon the campus. The four men and women stood as martyrs for their original cause, and people, regardless of political party or social status, took notice.

Let’s move forward. It’s present day, and you open up the newspaper to read about all of the 20-somethings “occupying” Wall Street. What are they doing? What’s their goal? According to www.occupywallst.org, which is an unofficial website, the goal “is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.” That’s quite a tall order for a bunch of admittedly leaderless people. So, somehow, sitting around in Zucotti Park will stop Wall Street from performing its role in the “economic collapse” of America. Maybe I’m missing something. I understand the whole non-violent protest concept, but what has honestly come from this protest? They obviously don’t feel strongly enough to die for the cause. There’s no iconic image, such as there was in the Kent State Massacre, when photographer John Filo took a photo of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller. It seems more like a futile attempt by our generation to prove that we can change the world.

A student strike that encompassed hundreds of campus and universities took place. What’s happened in this case? Sure, it branched out, but does that even compare to a student strike that massive? According to The Advocate, on Nov. 6, Occupy Baton Rouge had about 30 members. They protested at Chase Bank downtown. Amazingly, Chase Bank didn’t shut down. What’s the point of branching out if it means you’re even less effective than you were as a whole? I I actually thought about taking the protest seriously, until it started to branch out. Still, their hopes to change the world are even more of a joke. The most embarrassing thing (at least to me, seeing that I’m a part of the generation in question) is the fact that the website has a “donate” tab.

They want us to donate money, so they can go buy food and supplies. So they can put that money right back into the capitalist system. If you’re going to try to change the world, shouldn’t you have a little knowledge of how it works first?

Apparently the general assembly of the Occupy Wall Street protests transferred $20,000 to the Occupy Oakland movement. The general assembly of Occupy Oakland decided to deposit the money instead of paying the bail on several protesters in jail. They deposited the money in a Wells-Fargo bank, the same bank the protestors smashed the windows of days earlier. The work put in by past generations to change the world was astounding compared to what we’re doing.

I’ve watched several videos of these occupants reacting to people opposed to their cause. They don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re not sure how to counter the argument. Instead, they cry out that the right-wing is racist, homophobic and overall ignorant. It seems like the cry of someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about to me. The Kent State Massacre brought a generation together. This thing (I don’t even want to call it a protest anymore) instead divides and, as said before, embarrasses a generation.

Such a half-hearted attempt at a protest is an insult to those who gave their lives in the name of civil disobedience and protests. I found that Occupy San Diego started protesting free education, even at the collegiate level. When posed with the question, “Who will pay for the teacher’s salaries,” the group responded with threats and insults aimed towards the man. They’ll talk tough, but they won’t back it up, it seems.

Perhaps the most common theme of the Occupy protests is the idea that the economic system is rigged in favor of the rich, or the “1%.” It’s even worse that rapper Kanye West showed up to a protest, supporting them, while he wears designer clothes and gold chains. I guess he doesn’t understand the phrase “When in Rome.”  Others, including Graham Nash and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash have decided to support the “99%.” It baffles me to hear the “99%” complaining about the “1%” while the “1%” agrees with the “99%.” Maybe they aren’t so different after all.

I’ll leave you with a nugget of advice my father gave me when he found out I was writing this opinion: “I’m going to occupy the bathroom. At least I know what I’m there for.”