Politics, righteous indignation, and random giddiness about my upcoming daughter.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
My introduction to the Occupy Memphis movement
I couldn't help but get a little fired up tonight (though I'm sure I came off as an ass ;) ). I signed up for the Occupy Memphis movement because I support the Occupy Wall Street movement. From what I can tell thus far, it is a protest against social and economic inequality (including a tax code that favors the ultra wealthy) and corporate influence on government (I'm particularly ticked off about Citizens United decision). The document or "mission statement" that was read at the beginning was great, and I felt like I was in the right place.
Then, when getting ready to vote on the document, I hear a man object to the health care statement followed by his request to add in "abolish the Federal Reserve". I quickly picked him out as a Ron Paul supporter (not like that's difficult), which he confirmed as he walked back to his seat.
I've worked my tail off for the past 8 years to elect progressive candidates and to get young people involved in politics. I invested a lot of time serving as President of the College Democrats (Univ. Memphis), and it bothers me so badly to see so many young people blindly buying into Ron Paul's flawed economic ideology because he wants to legalize pot (for the record, I actually agree with him on the latter issue).
Anyways, what I was trying to communicate to the group was that our movement needs to have a consistent message (not one that's all over the place...you don't want to protest just to protest), and we can't do that if we're going to adopt far-right wing rhetoric on top of a progressive message. It makes no sense. It would be like me going to a young Republicans meeting and trying to get them to add stiffer environmental regulations to their platform. They would boo me out of the room.
I attempted to propose a debate over whether or not we should get rid of the Federal Reserve. I'm hoping I can get that set up, but either way the point is that we need to actually discuss issues before randomly throwing them into a document that defines the organization we are in. The original document was perfect, and people had put in over 6(?) hours ironing it out. To take that much time on it, and then have random attendees calling out different things to add to it (without a thorough and thought out debate) just doesn't add up.
Besides, with a gridlocked Congress unable to pass any legislation to help the economy, the Federal Reserve is about the only source of economic stimulus we have right now. To think that people would actually call for such a thing with Congress' current inaction is baffling to me. There are some changes that I would make to the Federal Reserve, but getting rid of it is not the answer.
Days after its creation, I watched the tea party turn from a libertarian movement (that I disagreed with economically) into a far-right-wing misinformed group of people who woke up angry one day and decided to look at the news for the first time. I just really like the premise of Occupy Wall Street, and I don't want to see it get hijacked by right-wing extremists like the tea party did.