At 4:30 Monday afternoon, some type of Occupy Wall Street movement was evident across from City Hall in Manchester. About 20 people were there chanting, accompanied by a percussion section. Since the TV station is just a few blocks away, I decided to pop in and and procure a camera so I could capture some footage for my show, More Politically Alert which airs live Wednesday at 9 p.m. (rebroadcast Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at noon, Tuesday at 11 p.m. and always available at vimeo.com/channels/mpa).
By the time I returned to City Hall five minutes later, the group had moved on. My search of Victory and Veterarns Park did not produce any results either, but I did find a dozen or so tents in Victory Park right across from main library. Some had chalked the word "Peace" on the sidewalk.
Who could disagree that peace is a good thing?
As I was observing the group at City Hall, a young chalker recognized me. He seemed friendly enough. He was chalking the phrase "Free Bradley...". My first thought was why does Jeb Bradley need freeing, but it was Bradley Manning, the man in the U.S. armed forces who had leaked information to wikileaks.
What to make of this movement?
I certainly believe in getting our military out of conflicts around the world. I certainly am an absoutist when it comes to the public's right to know, and yes, I favored wikileaks getting information (which never should have been classified) out to the public.
Although I didn't have a blog or my TV show at the time, I was 100 percent against bailouts of big banks. In fact, as a Libertarian free enterprise capitalist, I'm against any and all bailouts of any big business. The Occupy Wall Streeters would partially agree with that, but to the extent that makes me a Social Darwinist, I'm sure they'd be appalled (if in fact they know what Social Darwinism implies).
I favor government neither bailing out businesses nor individuals. In fact, I favor government getting off my back, out of my bad, and out of my wallet. That makes me a proud tea party member, not an occupy wall streeter.
The real problem with the Occupy movement is the sheer hypocrasy of it all. A sign amid the tents across from the libarry bemoans how the poor are getting poorer. However, these so-called poor people have all the modern amenities, from phones to computers, which only money can buy. As a society, we are so much better off than previous generations that only ingrates (or those who fail to look at history) could complain.
For example, I'll be 60 in a month or so, so I'm old but not ancient. I remember growing up in a little town called Shoreham, Vermont (across Lake Champlain from Fort Ticonderoga). We had a cistern to collect the water; my mother had to heat water on the stove for me to take a bath. Some of my friends had to go to a well to get water to flush their toilets. Clothes were put through this old-fashioned hand wringer.
We didn't get a color TV until my senior year in high school, and that's only because I bought one for my parents. Reception was good for only one station (WCAX Channel 3 Burlington) with a Plattsburg station and one from Mt. Washington (Channel 8) coming in through snow.
This is not ancient history. It was America in the 1950s and no one seemed to complain. We were happier than the generation before ours; there was no war; and memories of the horrors of World War II were fresh in the minds of our parents perhaps but not us.
Pardon me if I opine that some of these Occupy Wall Streeters come across as spoiled brats who don't know how well off they are.
The so-called poor enjoy most of the benefits of the so-called rich from color TVs, computers, stereos, and automobiles to frozen dinners you can pop in the oven and eat a five minutes later. We had no microwaves when I grew up, but that was just one of hundreds of modern marvels we lacked, hundreds of marvels which make lives better and richer today.
Yes, I believe in peace.
Yes, I favor gay rights.
Yes, I favor legalization of marijuana.
On all these issues, the Occupy Wall Streeters of a given moment undoubtedy agree with me, but that doesn't make me happy. To me, they are more like squatters out on a lark than they are stalwart individuals with a social conscince.
Individual rights have always topped my agenda, and the antithesis of that is people mindlessly chanting back lines that someone has fed to them. They are little more than mindless automatons.
These are not people standing up against an unjust war like Vietnam.
They are basically spoiled brats who are so well off that they have to go in search of phony issues to protest.
Real protesters have a message. They gather an hour or so; they may even march; they don't defecate in public, pitch tents, and hang around sleeping and making out in public parks.
I'll try to get footage again...if I can find the fleeting youth who've taken Manchester by less than storm.