Mic check: The whole world is watching, and thinking

By Sharon Woolums

Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) as it has evolved, is not a utopian society. It is a microcosm of our world. As is true in any organization, there will inevitably be the 1 percent that will attempt to ruin it for the other 99, those advocating for the best life possible, as is our want under the Constitution. And as in any protest movement, there are suspected infiltrators, plants sent there to create discord that will provide the media fodder for those hoping to marginalize and denigrate the effort — to make political liability of the protests.

Daniel Massey of Crain’s New York Business refers to the occupiers as “the motley collection of agitators.” It is true there have been thefts reported, and though declared a sober zone, drug addicts, too, anarchists with mayhem on their minds and some who forgot to take their meds and now, sadly, reported sex abuse. Mr. Massey didn’t, however, mention the other 99 percent that I met there. I had to see for myself.

Who are the occupiers? I met brilliant, articulate people that know exactly why they are there and were happy to tell me; recent college grads, now saddled with enormous debt, discovering their dream jobs already outsourced to Third World countries — which is creating a Third World climate in our own; homeless people who have suffered the sad ordeal of foreclosure; others with hopes of starting a cottage industry to live the American dream, who soon realized their price points couldn’t compete with goods imported from China, the American dream for them deteriorating into a nightmare of despair.

There are those who can’t really explain what drew them to this place; they feel something’s gone wrong with the system and want to know why. There are professors, the jobless, great legal minds, writers, union workers, ex-marines, the poor, artists, the rich, the huddled masses — all trying to make sense of the mess we’re in.

Some want easy simple answers; they want the organization to come up with something. But even doctors have to diagnose the problem before they can fix it. Occupiers invite us to think, finally — to connect the dots. And this is not about partisan politics (plenty of blame to go around here!) nor left versus right — but maybe right versus wrong.

I doubt anybody likes everything that is said at Occupy Wall Street, but everybody can agree on one thing. Something is not working in the U.S. of A. We know this because despite advancements in technology, communication, travel, etc., suddenly in our economically progressive history, the next generation is not facing a brighter future, unlike their baby boomer parents.

No matter what the spin or the future of this movement, the occupiers have occupied a space in our collective consciousness and forced us all to question things we have been pondering since we first realized something went wrong. We lost our way and here appeared the hopeful 99 standing at the edge of Ground Zero, determined to forge a path out of the chaos to the street paved of gold, now “up against the Wall” street.

With the fervor, the excitement, the creativity this site has generated, “the people” spoke, were heard and captured the attention of the whole wide world. But as much as the occupiers and others are filled with hope and empowered by idealism, when the rain pours, will the dedication dampen? When the cold comes, will the infectious fervor chill? I hope this spirit of fervent inquiry and determination to participate in our democracy never disintegrates into a winter of discontent, but that indoors or out, it will blossom with ideas and solutions, so that we will once again thrive under a great flag.

New solutions are needed, but it is the old values that will lead us back to the garden. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 

Some say the soul of this country is already bought and sold, and that the Big Apple is rotten with greed and corruption. Those willing to sacrifice democracy for their own greedy interests have bit off more than they could chew, and environmentalists tell us, it’s making us all sick.

Elected officials have been pressured by corporate lobbyists into signing onto legislation that is a blatant disregard for the people. Lawmakers who got into office with fancy words and behind-the-scene deals with moneyed interests, chipped away at the laws that protected and benefited the people. “They” are winning at the expense of the majority, but in the end, all will lose. And at the hands of a few, the great experiment that is America will have gone awry; idealism buried under a pile of gold, our golden opportunity gone. 

Certain officials’ salty remarks led to pepper-spraying of four young female protesters. The emperors have no clothes, but they do what they do because they can, because “we” allow it. The “fair and balanced” media has been caught spinning a web of deception. Occupiers beckon us to be our own best investigative journalists. There are indisputable facts and figures that speak for themselves.

Fact check… The whole world is watching. Mic check…Listen and learn. Far from the park, reverberations are felt around the world.