There was an article in yesterday morning’s edition of The Seattle Times, about how the Occupy Seattle protest was beginning to lose steam. I would be, too, if I saw that my protests were falling on deaf ears. A quick glance at the homepage for NPR, The New York Times, and The Economist show stories of the protests themselves, but little is said about whether Washington is listening.
I don’t think they are. And that’s not fair.
I just finished reading Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, which was, hands down, the best book I’ve read all year. Possibly in the last couple of years. I had NO IDEA how poorly informed I was about what went on the Middle East. Did you know there’s been a counter-jihad movement afoot for years? Neither did I. The point of the movement is to educate people, both Muslim and not, about the true meaning of jihad: the internal struggle to maintain faith, to defend their faith, and to improve Muslim society. Notice it doesn’t say anything about blowing other people up in the process.
The counter-jihad was evident in the protests that swept across North Africa and into Syria, Jordan, and beyond. There were eaceful protests, meant to instigate change. And change they did. They toppled governments. They could voice their displeasures without fear of retaliation (unless you’re in Syria. Then you’d better keep your mouth shut).
The point, though, is their governments listened. They heard them. They made promises (yes, some of them were empty). They made changes. And when push came to shove, they stepped aside.
The Occupy Wall Street protest is a month old. Nothing has changed. Maybe it’s not the government’s place to step in and tell Uncle Moneybags to keep his hands off our stash, but if the protestors are to be heard, that’s exactly what they want. The people want jobs. Affordable health care. Debt relief. Instead, we get squabble after squabble about bills and acts that have yet to pass through Congress that may or may not help ease some of the pain. Slapping fines on big banks doesn’t do much. Case in point: Jefferson County, Alabama (click the link to read Matt Taibbi’s blog post on the issues the poor county has had because of big banks like Chase).
I’m tired of a government that doesn’t get anything done. I’d like to think that if enough people put up a fuss, they’d listen. But they don’t seem to be doing that.