05 October 2011

My seven demands for #occupywallstreet

In my last post, I talked about some of the reasons why I didn't (and don't) support #occupywallstreet. One of them was the rhetoric, include the use of the word "demands." Another part was the message, and some of the demands clearly fit into that category.

Turning the rhetoric and message on its head, here are my "demands" of those of you who are participating in #occupywallstreet:

1. Obey the law. This is pretty simple actually. Please note: blocking traffic is not obeying the law. You're obstructing the freedom of movement of other people. Resisting arrest is not obeying the law. What you're doing may be peaceful, but peaceful can still be unlawful. If you need to get a permit, then go get one.

I'm not in NYC, but it seems to me that most people are already doing this. So good on you.

2. Vote. I would be willing to bet that probably half (or perhaps even more) of the people at #occupywallstreet either aren't registered to vote, or didn't vote in their last election. Or the one before that, or the one before that. All the statistics show that the younger one is, the less likely it is that they vote. So go register and vote. Because if you don't, I (and others) don't want to hear you complain. If you already vote, then great. You can move on to #3. If you don't vote, or aren't even registered, then this item is for you.

3. Stop making bullshit excuses to get out of jury duty. Along with your rights as a citizen come certain responsibilities. Jury duty is one. So take pride in this responsibility and stop trying to invent ways to avoid it.

4. Patronize the street vendors. The New Republic reported that some of the street vendors in the area are losing a lot of business because of the occupation. Some of you are going to complain that's because the NYPD set up barriers. "It's their fault, not ours!" Fine. Then seek out these hard-working people and patronize them. According to the article I cited above, they're blaming you. So go fix that problem.

5. Promote transparency and accountability. I noted that the wepay.com donation accounts have no transparency or accountability into how donations are being spent. Why should I (or anyone) donate money if I have no idea how that money is being spent? Or if it's being spent in the way I intended, at all? All donations and expenditures should be made public so that people can see how their support is being used.

6. Be a good neighbor. Some of the people who live in the area complained that #occupywallstreet is loud and keeping them up at night. How about having some respect for the people who actually live there (as opposed to your temporary occupation) by being respectful during the hours when most people are usually sleeping.

7. Stop feeling entitled. I recognize that not everyone at #occupywallstreet is young, but from everything I've seen via social media, pictures, etc., younger people make up the biggest percentage of you. Rightly or wrongly, you are viewed as a entitlement generation. Going into McDonald's and getting mad when you ask for, and don't get free food, only reinforces that notion (cited in The New Republic article). Asking for forgiveness from mortgages and student loans, any and all debts? The same thing. Every time you ask for something, you are reinforcing what people already believe about you. Honestly, I don't care about if you truly feel that way or not. That is the perception that people have about you. There are 6,780,000 hits on Google for the entitlement generation.  You have to work hard to change that perception. Otherwise you play right into people's perceptions. Instead of asking, highlight the areas where you as citizens have contributed to society.

Take a look back at these seven "demands." Are they really all that much to ask for?
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