Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ranting

I took a walk by the Occupation the other night...it was warm out, and I kind of wanted to see what the big deal was (and then 140 people got arrested later that night....probably a coincidence.) Here's the thing...it smells awful, like stale urine. I am all for protesting and making a statement, but I don't see where ignoring basic hygene adds to the power of the message. Anyway, at some point it is probably a health hazard and they are all gonna get kicked out, but for now it seemed like kind of a hippie-groovy good time.

It also didn't really clear up my confusion about exactly what the are protesting...in fact, I think they specifically maybe aren't protesting, but rather are just venting some very deep frustrations. That said, some of them are just being stupid. One guy had a sign that said "not leaving until someone gives me a job". Far be it for me to point out that I got my current job through good old nepotism (sort of), but I have had plenty of jobs in my life, and every single one of them involved actually showing up somewhere and asking the hiring manager specifically to have that job. Some others had anti-war signs, which is all fine and good but seemed sort of out of step with the rest of the demonstration.

Then there were a whole bunch of people whose major gripe seemed to be that they have student loans. I get that...I have student loans, and I know loads of people that do, and virtually none of them really understood what they were signing on for when they took out those loans. It would be one thing if we taught kids how to evaluate the cost of debt in high school, but American 18 year olds are just completely ill-equipped to compare their potential earnings to their very real debt. I guess my problem with that is...how is that the fault of "Wall Street"? Or, to name their other favorite target, the dreaded "1%"?

Doesn't the fault lie with the institutions that you paid all of that tuition to? Or with the State Legislatures that consistently cut funding to higher education in order to lavish yet more absurd entitlements onto seniors (among others)? Or to the Federal agencies that have made so much subsidized money available that they have driven the cost of tuition up in a seemingly never-ending spiral?

I see lots of complaints about corporations being greedy (duh!) and "not paying their fair share". But what about Universities who hoard money and land, pay lavish salaries to useless professors and collect massive tax-free money from thir alumni? How is Harvard considered a non-profit when they have somehow managed to accumulate a $32 billion endowment? Pretty remarkable to never earn a profit but somehow have financial assets larger than maybe half a dozen US Corporations...

OK, I am rambling. But, seriously, if the Occupiers are reading this...let's focus our anger!!!

3 comments:

A said...

Um, yes. Some focused anger would help. I'm all about being pissed off (I'm really good at it, as a matter of fact) but it's all over the place.

I do love the picture of the lady holding the sign about librarians that's making its way 'round the interwebs, though.

Kari said...

Love this! I think some people just like to protest!


ugg...nothing I hate more than the smell of stale urine. Seriously, it's why I rarely stand inside a bus shelter (even when it is -40C). I was pleasantly surprised last time I was in Amsterdam that I actually enjoyed my visit (and then I realized why -- because it didn't smell like urine everywhere I went! Thank-you public urinals for taking the urine smell out of Amsterdam!)

Kari said...

I think Wpg is the only city in NA that hasn't taken steps to oust the Occupy group. I think the powers that be figure that Mother Nature will evict them soon enough! Ahhh...nothing like winter in the 'peg!