COLUMN: Occupy movement is fine, but more passion needed in protests
Last year saw the rise of protest movements around the world. In particular, Occupy Wall Street hit closest to home, and similar movements erupted across the nation. People of all ages flocked to makeshift camps to lend aid and numbers to different areas of America in need of social liberation.
At first, the movement’s intentions were unclear, but as time went on, they took a stand against big business and corruption of Wall Street and of the government’s pocketbooks. Police responded like clockwork, making arrests and partaking in undeniable brutality across the nation. Nevertheless, Occupy stood strong.
As the bitter sting of winter arrived, many of those living in tents were forced to return home or find other means of shelter, causing camps around America to dwindle and even fall apart. When spring arrived, those numbers remained miniscule, and the movement — both in action and media coverage — became a mere afterthought.
Meanwhile, young people in Egypt continue to cause change across the country. Whether their means are violent is irrelevant — the masses found problems with how things were, and they sought change.
The Canadian government recently attempted to raise student fees for college goers in Quebec. Fees are raised in America on a constant basis; that’s not a big deal, right?
Thousands of students flooded the streets of Quebec, even stripping to their underwear in protest of those raised costs. The result? Student fees were returned to normal.
Tens of thousands of Chinese citizens took to the streets Sunday in Hong Kong for a pro-democracy protest. Hong Kong is the only area in China where protest is allowed, and these protestors took full advantage of the law, shutting down city blocks on a colossal scale.
Across the globe, protests like these are being organized and demonstrated. Young people are realizing that things are wrong, and that they can be changed. But where is Occupy?
The remaining locations and members of the Occupy movement continue to carry out small protests and constantly update Facebook accounts with motivational pictures and speeches, but it seems the spirit of the movement has been laid to rest.
Compared to the other movements around the world, Occupy Wall Street seems to have gotten no more done than irritating businessmen on their way to work.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I’d love nothing more than to stick it to the man. Fees just went up again here at OU, and boy would I love to take to the streets in protest if it meant changing that.
But where are the numbers? Where are the angry masses? Occupy Wall Street has become nothing more than a perfect model of American young people: lazy.
In the 1960s, college students everywhere took over the nation, demanding change and reform, so it’s not that our country is incapable of such protest — we’re scared. Americans are too content with their day-to-day lives and don’t want to waste time charging down a street with a handmade sign. They are afraid to be arrested or looked down upon by their fellow man. When the Occupy movement came to Norman, even I was too afraid to join, believing that it would cause me to miss a class or lose much-needed sleep.
The problem is that until we become restless, nothing will get accomplished. If the Occupy movement hopes to get anything done, the masses of America need to take to the streets.
We sit at home and believe someone else will take care of things while our government of rich old men sits in tailored suits arguing for the sake of arguing. It’s time to realize there is no “someone else.”
If we want change, we need to demand it.
I encourage you, America, to open your eyes and see all the wrong doings of the American government. Write letters to our Oklahoman officials. Let them know what your true opinion of our state and country is rather than letting them decide for us.
If you believe in something, fight for it.
Take up your signs and take to the streets. If we want something to be done, we have to do it ourselves. It’s time to turn America upside down.
Ty Johnson is a letters and music sophomore.