There’s a lot we can learn from the Occupy Wall Street movement as we continue onward together.
In 2011 I had the privilege of observing and documenting a group of parents and their kids who were involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement. It was my first real taste of on-the-street activism. The Occupy movement was deeply inspiring in the Fall of 2011 when it started, but the movement was ultimately derailed. There’s a lot that we can learn from what those pioneering activists did back then ― not just in terms of what worked but what didn’t. My biggest take-away was that the powers that be successfully pitted the Occupiers against the police ― a classic case of a movement becoming distracted and forgetting who the real enemy is. You can get a brief glimpse of what I’m talking about from the film’s trailer.
I bring this to your attention not as self-promotion but as another way to understand the larger context of what is happening right now.
Yesterday, 45 held a press conference that was painted by the media as a long, crazed rant from an unhinged individual. It’s easy to be dismissive about it, but the correct analysis from those behind the scenes (see Alternative Department of State) is that this press conference was intended to rally their base to oppose our movement. What this means is that we’re going to likely start seeing an energized Tea Party movement or some other manifestation showing up to oppose our actions. That is why there is an unexpected rally for their side occurring in FL in the next few days. In other words, just like with Occupy, the intention is to pit us against them and to get us to become distracted, lose momentum and self-destruct.
If we engage our fellow countrymen in this manner, if we go directly against them with anything that is too angry or violent, this cycle will be amplified by Fox and Breitbart and it will escalate. They will paint the resistance as crazy and dangerous and it will cause even more people who follow them to get into this ― which will become ever more exacerbated and I don’t think I need to spell out what that could ultimately lead to for our nation.
So, if you are at a town hall event or a rally or anywhere else, here are some guiding principles:
1) If at all possible, avoid engaging people on the other side of this. If the knowledge that 45 is a puppet to the Russians does not bother them, there is nothing you nor I can say which will change their minds - at least at this point. Best to be patient and respectful with these folks and demonstrate by your determination that we won’t succumb to this divide and conquer strategy.
2) If people are screaming at you and/or getting into your face and you feel compelled to respond, do so by remembering what was said in the Hunger Games and repeating it as a chant: “Remember who the real enemy is.” Another chant to use is: “Neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, we band together to make this end.” (Fox News cannot get a good soundbyte from these.)
3) Focus all of your attention on reaching out to your congressional representatives and making sure we are clocking their every move. Praise them when they represent our needs and call them out when they don’t.
4) Wear our country’s colors proudly. Wave an American flag. Remind people that the idea of America, based on The Bill of Rights, is something we cherish and we will not let be changed.
So, let’s avoid the pitfalls of Occupy Wall Street and move forward together, peacefully but with strong conviction and laser focus. To do otherwise is to play into the hands of those who wish to destroy us.