The Occupy Wall Street movement, a group of events protesting rising income inequality and arguing in favor of the “99%,” has recently started shaking American politics. It has become the subject of many conversations, including at my college.
In the two particular conversations that I recall, the tone was somewhat critical of Occupy Wall Street. One person stated that it seemed that the movement didn’t really have a set goal, and just seemed to be protesting for the sake of protesting. Another group of students was also skeptical of the movement; my memory is somewhat hazy on this matter, but they seemed to criticize the protesters as not really representing the working-class.
These anecdotal critiques may seem of little significance to most people, but they actually point to a very big problem with the Occupy movement. These people who were critiquing the Occupy movement were not conservatives by any stretch; they hold very liberal views. By all rights, the individuals I talked with ought to have been strong supporters of Occupy Wall Street; in fact, they should have formed the core of support for the movement. College students are some of the most liberal people in America; the typical college student is one of the most likely demographics in the country to support a protest on social inequality.
The problem with Occupy Wall Street is not really the goal of the protests but rather its tone. It just seems too hippie for most of America. I cringe when I read the “About Us” section of its unofficial website, which uses words like “people’s assembly.” There is a very negative connotation that most of America holds when it hears a phrase like that.
This is very sad, because most Americans would agree with the aims of Occupy Wall Street. It’s just that the tactics of the movement will eventually alienate the typical swing voter.
If Occupy Wall Street can’t even win students at my college, how is it going to win Middle America?