There's a watershed moment here in America right now. We're standing at the top of the Continental Divide, and we're soon going to have to decide which side we're on.
I'm going to explain which side I'm on in a moment, but first I want to tell you a few things about me, so that all my biases are right out there in the open. I'm pushing 50. I own a couple of very small businesses, together with my husband, who also has a 'regular' job and financially, we do ok. We live in a modest home, without all the 'desireable' features of granite this and marble that, but it's a nice place in a nice neighborhood with curvy streets and good schools-- my girls go to the top public middle and high school in our state, and they're both good looking straight-A students in college-bound curricula.
I've lived in a big city, the suburbs, and a small town at different times in my life. I don't have legal trouble, communicable diseases, or a history of psychosis. I give regularly to charity, especially animal shelters and food banks. I have excellent credit, money in the bank, and a reasonable retirement nest-egg. I scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT in high school, and graduated from a state university Magna cum Laude when I was 19 years old after 2-1/2 years.
I have worked continuously since I was 14 years old, as a waitress, a retail salesperson, a pizza parlor manager, a secretary, a paralegal, an attorney, and finally as a business owner. I've never been on welfare, food stamps, or unemployment. In fact, the only money I've ever taken from any government entity was a $3000 student loan during my first year in law school. I paid it back the year I graduated. Otherwise, I've done whatever I've done on my own since I left home at 17. I don't cheat on my taxes, and the only times I've ever stolen anything were a hair ribbon when I about 8 (my mom made me take it back and apologize), and a pair of jeans when I was in high school (I never got caught, but I always felt too guilty to wear the jeans).
I'm a recovering addict with many years clean, except from chocolate. I've never used patchouli. I don't burn incense or wear flowery long dresses from import stores, but I do yoga and meditate every day. I bathe daily, shave my legs whenever I get around to it, and wear makeup when I must. I consider myself a follower of Jesus Christ, but I don't belong to any organized religious group. I'm not a Communist, or a Socialist, or an anarchist. I am a registered Independent (except for in 2008 in Iowa, when I registered as a Democrat so I could go to the Caucuses).
I hope this tells you where I come from, because .... wait for it.... I'm on the side of the Occupy Wall Street (and elsewhere) Protesters. The very criticisms that the media has publicized about the protests are the very reasons I like them. They have no leader--that means that they can't be bought by someone who can make their leader miserable or confortable depending on his/her position on issues. They have no specific manifesto of demands--that means that they can't be brushed aside with a pat on the head and a token compliance with a few items only to have the spirit of the agreement corrupted through the back door. They aren't 'mainstream' and some of them are a bit nutty--that means that they're not just a front group for big money interests that seek to corrupt, co-opt, and capitalize on their momentum. Ahem--The Koch Brothers/Mrs. Clarence Thomas Tea Party---excuse me.
I am the 99 percent they are advocating for, and they are the only ones in recent memory who have. They advocate for the end to our pointless wars, the criminal Federal Reserve Banking system, and the corporate oligarchy that offers our government for purchase by the highest bidder. They seem to have nothing to gain from their risk in supporting this movement--they don't support any one candidate or any one political position or party, none of them is running for anything, and none of them have books on the market singing their own praises for being such "mavericks." They don't claim to have all the answers in the form of a bumper sticker solution like "_______________ for President," or "Tax the Rich" or "Go Whales." The problems we have are bigger than who is President, or who's in Congress, or who pays taxes or doesn't, or even what happens to whales, although I like whales a lot. The problems we have need to be solved by a razing to the ground of the political and economic systems that have gotten us to this place, followed by the re-creation of a system that isn't run by money and power, but for the good of the majority of the people. Are they the perfect movement? No, thank God, they're not, because perfect movements are phony movements. If they get their way, will it create havoc for a bit while things sort themselves out? Probably. But the alternative is more of the same. And, as I'm fond of quoting--the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting different results.
So, if you're the One--that is, the one percent of people who have been and continue to get ahead on other people's pain and loss, and you like it that way, then by all means don't support these people. They're dangerous to the status quo and smell like patchouli. But if you're the 99, you owe it to yourself to get some information that doesn't come from a cable news network owned by the same people who are fiddling happily while Rome (Georgia) burns, and see if you don't support them too.