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I remember back in 2006 when I had freshly been kicked out of college (good ol' Zero Tolerance), was poor, miserable, homeless, living on the couch at my good friend Ryan's house and harboring a crush on my adorable red-haired boss at Target, I spied an obese woman wearing a T-shirt that stuck in my memory. It said, "OPEN YOUR EYES! Less than 1% of the population owns over half the wealth." It had a creepy stencil of a pair of eyes looking out (kind of like the eyes of God on that one billboard in The Great Gatsby) to complete the sense of urgency and everywhereness the shirt was trying to convey.
I was only 18 at the time, with no idea how relentlessly difficult my life was about to become, but I still remember that shirt, because it was the third time in my life I felt a crushing, inescapable sense of injustice (the first two were: Finding out I couldn't be emancipated in Arizona even though my parents were abusive psychopaths, and getting kicked out of my dorm at ASU for having a knife that I used for nefarious activities such as slicing tomatoes and cutting sandwiches).
I thought, how can that be? No. How could such a small amount of people have all that money? What are they going to do with it?
Of course, I -as most human beings are wont to do- forgot about the T-shirt and the problem that it was trying to bring attention to after only a few short years and a crippling stream of unfortunate events and bad luck that is my life (it's a sob story, a long one, and one I won't ever get into).
Now, six years later, the world seems to have finally caught up with that one woman's T-shirt, and it only took two out-of-control wars and a gigantic worldwide recession brought about entirely by the corruption and greed of Wall Street bankers.
Occupy Together, as the movement calls itself, is gaining ground and supporters at an enormous rate. They've already got people getting unduly beaten/arrested/pepper sprayed, even.
Now, the question is: Are we going to do something with this momentum? Or is the movement going to fizzle and die like every other protest movement since the 60s?
I live in a tiny insignificant city in a piece-of-shit state (Arizona), and we had an "Occupy Flagstaff" movement. I was just there earlier today. There were maybe a hundred people there, mostly college students, and also my friend Bob (a local business owner). They had signs with all the slogans (Bankers: The Party is Over!; Love is Greater than Money; etc), and while I don't doubt their passion, I do doubt their commitment.
I'm a cynic. I know it, my friends know it, hell, it's probably written in my genetic code somewhere, but I can't imagine us standing up to the combined forces of the United States Government, Wall Street, Congress and its associated lobbyists, and (eventually, probably) hired military contractors, before some video game or movie or whatever comes out, and we all drop our signs to go smoke pot and read that next book by that Twilight lady while we stand in line at the Apple store for the commemorative Steve Jobs memorial I-phone.
I can't imagine protestors in New York standing up much longer to police brutality. I don't see them standing their ground as rubber bullets hail from every direction. The novelty and the passion and sense of justice will wear thin, and we'll go back to our comfortable distractions once again. It's been a long time since protesting has accomplished anything in the United States. Are still going to be fighting a year after Chicago stock traders hang up signs that say this?
We should ask Egypt for a refresher course in getting results from protesting. They seem to know what they're doing more than we do.
So I guess that means it's your job to prove me wrong. Make me eat my words; make me admit culpability. We live in a nation of distractions, and we must learn to ignore our comforts and... focus... erm... on... the stuff...
What was I talking about again?
Batman: Arkham City is coming out soon, isn't it?
Man, that game is going to be so awesome.
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