11/15/11 — Occupy what? It is becoming less and less clear what protesters really want

View Archive

Occupy what? It is becoming less and less clear what protesters really want

Occupy Wall Street -- or you fill in the name of the city -- has taken a turn for the absurd.

After weeks of protesting, no one is really sure what those gathered at the sites around the country really want -- and it is beginning to seem like they do not know either.

Do they want money taken away from those who earned it and redistributed to those on the street? Do they want more government programs (same thing)? Do they want to get their hands on a job with a bank or on Wall Street?

Sure, it is not always fair that some hard-working people make less money than others who might be just as hard-working, but who have a more marketable skill. But that is how it works.

A janitor who does a wonderful job keeping a school clean might work very hard, but does not have the responsibilities a teacher has -- and has not completed the educational requirements the other job requires. Therefore, he has less invested. And while he might be as valuable to the overall operation, his skill set does not command a higher salary.

Sure there are way-skewed salaries -- just look at the celebrity news.

Is a Hollywood actor really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars an episode or millions for a movie? Should athletes bring home bizillions of dollars?

Nope. Not in the Occupy Wall Street world.

The truth is that there will always be opportunities for those who seek them. But for generations doors have not opened magically for anyone looking for a job or advancement in a career field. It is a tough job market. No one is guaranteed anything when they get out of college.

But that does not mean all is lost. This is still a place, for the most part, where talent and hard work, when combined with education, can result in success at various levels. And if you are willing to really add the stress, long hours and a large responsibility load to your plate, you can even make yourself into one of the elite the Occupy Wall Street protesters are so upset about.

There are still many Americans who start out small and work their way into big jobs. Check around a bit. Few get their jobs and salaries handed to them.

So Occupy Wall Street needs to find its message and then put it forward for its fellow citizens to evaluate. If there is something there, work can begin. If there is still just a jumbled mess of half-truths, then it really is time for the protesters to go home.

Published in Editorials on November 15, 2011 10:49 AM