Someone, or some ones are conspiring to convince the eager, frustrated, and somewhat gullible of our citizenry that Wall Street, and by association every financial district in most major U.S. cities, is to blame for -- well, you name it. And why not? If you can't connect the dots to actions of Congress and the administration for our economic mess you might as well select a target where you can march, carry signs, camp out, and swap "war stories" with your ilk about the evils of capitalism.
The problem with some of the Occupiers is they're on a witch hunt but don't know what a witch looks like. Or, as one astute observer put it, "they don't know witch from Shinola." Many have forgotten, if they ever knew, that "peaceable" assembly is a right defined in the First Amendment. The anarchist and Leninist among them are oblivious to this right.
Oh it's not easy marching the streets looking and sounding angry. It is probably therapeutic for those who truly are suffering; for the fringe element it's a chance to be on TV, get high, and act out.
To put the best possible "spin" on the Occupy movement, many protesters would just like to get something done about the economy. They want jobs and a reason to believe that someone has a plan to make things work better. Most of the real victims have gone home; the radical and hired hands carry on.
Interestingly, President Obama just passed on building an energy pipeline from Canada to Texas that would create thousands of jobs.
You would think that the erstwhile protestors would take notice of conditions in Europe where decades of "nanny state" entitlements have ruined state economies. Protests and riots in Europe haven't substituted for realistic austerity programs and won't in the U.S. either. By comparison, during the Carter presidency when our "misery index" (unemployment, inflation, etc.) was much worse, the folks weren't occupying they were coping. Today, a sense of entitlement has influenced the scene.
Unless conditions change dramatically, these protests will continue for the next year; lessening in the winter then gaining momentum in the spring. How disruptive they will be is unknown. And will depend in part on politics of the presidential election year. Both parties will seek to use the discontent to their advantage.
Whatever form the Occupy protests take in 2012 Americans have the ability to absorb the impact. We have that unquantifiable quality known as "American Spirit" that will see us through. Our history is filled with instances when difficult times became almost unbearable but we persevered and overcame adversity.
It's very likely that life is not going to get easier for the middle class in America due to effects of globalization. To compete globally some fundamental changes are required in our education system, taxation, the investment environment and shrinking the footprint of federal, state, and local government. These changes will require national unity that has been absent for several years. In many ways we have become our own worst enemy. Somehow we must find that unity.
Our American spirit is the antithesis of the Occupier mentality, It reflects a "can-do," pull yourself up by your boots straps attitude that seems lost on those who want quick fixes from the government. The rabble rousers will have none of that; they'd like nothing more than to bring our country down. They are not the first to think so, may not be the last, but won't succeed; not as long as enough of us still have that indomitable American spirit. There may after all be something to that old high school cheer, "We've got spirit! Yes we do! We've got spirit! How about you?!" Don't bet against spirit. Got Spirit?
Reynolds lives in Pleasant View. He is a retired businessman and member of the Kiwanis Club of North Ogden.