It's Hard to Take the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Crowd Seriously

Without a clear message, "Occupy Wall Street" is more of a nuisance than a serious movement.

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The "occupy everything" crowd is still at it but, as the novelty wears off, so does whatever effectiveness it may have hoped to have.

As a social protest movement patterned after the writings of the legendary Saul Alinsky, it leaves a lot to be desired. It appears to be disjointed, unfocused, and more interested in the act of protest itself than in achieving any major cultural or societal reforms.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street]

Their efforts have been colored by the various reports of littering, vandalism, attempts to bait the police into what one academic called the necessary "Kent State moment," slovenliness, and at least one reported rape as well as numerous arrests for what used to be called disturbing the peace. Still, it remains difficult if not impossible to figure out precisely what these folks want. There have been demands for the immediate forgiveness of the student loans that so many of them apparently chose to take out to finance their college careers, but that smacks of self-interest rather than the earnest selflessness they are trying to project. Which makes it all the more curious that President Barack Obama has endorsed them.

It may that the president, seeing his poll numbers continue to fall, has made the calculation that any ultra-left social protest movement is his ally—at least as far as his effort to win re-election is concerned. It’s an interesting but potentially dangerous conclusion for him to reach, especially if any of the protests get out of hand. The more people are inconvenienced by what they are doing the more likely the members of the 99 percent who are honest, hard-working, and trying to keep their heads above water are to going to resent them.

[See photos of the Occupy Wall Street protests]

All told, the movement seems to be about evading responsibility, something that is not too surprising coming from what ought to be called "the entitlement generation." The various manifestos and lists of demands that are floating around in the social media space easily lead to that conclusion, as do the reports coming out of New York that the protesters who have been arrested thus far are threatening, through their lawyers, to clog the city’s courts, grinding the criminal justice system to a halt, unless all the charges against them are dismissed.

The "occupy everything" crowd has done a good job of proving themselves to be a nuisance but it is still hard to take them seriously.

  • Vote: Should Obama Endorse Occupy Wall Street?
  • See a collection of political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street
  • See photos of the Occupy Wall Street protests