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OWS Right idea ... wrong target

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Message Mike Tower
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A few thoughts about OWS

It has been interesting to watch the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) movement over the past several months. Like many of you, my early opinions were shaped mainly by the media. Early on, I concluded that these folks were a motley crew of mainly younger people who had no real idea of how the country or economy actually work and who is to blame for all of our problems. They know our country is in trouble, but they demanded outcomes with no suggestions about how to rationally get to these demands. What I really found particularly distasteful then and now is their notion of the 99% vs. the 1% ... meaning that the 1% of the wealthiest Americans are the enemy and the cause of all the financial problems for the rest of our population.

I'm still unsure of the genesis of this movement. Was it simply a spontaneous occurrence?  Who actually funded the start? They do seem to have attracted a wide variety of ordinary Americans from all walks of life and ages as the movement expanded. In our own town of Hendersonville I know a few of the "protesters" and can say without reservation that they are decent and ordinary Americans. They represent the courageous vocal minority of Americans who clearly see the danger our country is in and don't know how else or where else to stand up and shout a warning to the rest of us ... who as expected ... go about our lives hoping that somehow our elected leaders will unify to save the day. This latter thinking is simply delusional since we see absolutely no evidence of that happening.

The more I see the events unfold around the OWS movement the more I felt compelled to make a few observations. The folks who named the movement and planned the target location strategy really don't seem to get it. They are protesting against the wrong organizations and in the wrong locations. Blaming Wall Street and the rest of the financial institutions for being greedy beyond the pale is like blaming a lion for being a carnivore. It is simply the nature of the beast.

These institutions' sole reason for being is to make as much profit as possible any way they can ... legally. Of course that last word is where our real problem begins. If our elected leaders can be persuaded to change the laws and regulations to allow them to make additional money more easily ... that is worth a lot of campaign contributions. Since staying in power by our elected is a stronger motivator than doing what is best for our country and citizens ... we the people will lose every time.

Thus, the culprits who should be the target of all of our protests every day until we get their attention are those whom we have elected to represent us in Washington. I am, of course, talking about members of both congressional houses and whomever happens to be our President. Our federally elected from both parties have for several decades, under the influence of the the lobbies for the special interests of all types (including but not limited to Wall Street), allowed them to bend the economy in their favor.

We the people have been the suckers who are the most responsible for our problems. We see the danger and we even know that our elected are to blame ... our 8% approval rating for congress proves that. Then what do we do? We re-elect them at a rate of over 90%, election after election. Any wonder that they no longer listen to our complaints? Should we have any reasonable expectations that they will unless we take tangible action?

If I could give one significant piece of advice to OWS it would be to change your name, strategy, and locations. rename yourselves OW (Occupy Washington) and go there now. I suspect OWS would gather an amazing amount of support and actually help to force our elected to take pause before continuing to lead our country deeper into danger.

I have been, for many months, advocating for all of us to change our voter registration to Independent as soon as possible as a way of sending a signal to our elected that we are no longer willing to tolerate politics as usual. My second belief is that we must vote all incumbents out of office over the next three election cycles. My greatest fear is that even this will be too little too late. I am beginning to think that also protesting broadly might be the right steps to take immediately to make sure our elected begin to change behavior before it's too late. 

These are my opinions. What do you think?

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Mike spent most of his working career in a variety of managerial roles in five different industries for two employers over a 38 year career. He now writes a political Op-Ed column for the Hendersonville, NC Times-News, and displays his favorites at (more...)
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