Viewpoint: Occupy protests’ mixed messages undercut strength

By Joshua Madden
A&E editor

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. You hear that, America? That’s the sound of the “Occupy” movement’s 15 minutes of fame running out.

I’ll admit that I don’t much care for the “Occupy” movement, but that’s largely because protesters don’t have a coherent stance on anything of note. They’re angry at pretty much everyone except for the government, who, last time I heard, had authorized the bailouts they’re so mad about.

They claim to represent the 99 percent, despite the fact that they actually seem to want to increase taxes on anyone making $250,000 or more in a year.

Someone making $250,001 would not be in the top 1 percent of earners in America. They would be in, you guessed it, the other 99 percent.

Kanye West, Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin, however? They’d be in the 1 percent. They’re also people the movement is embracing.

You may have to scratch out that part about Susan Sarandon, however, because I don’t think even the “Occupy” movement is capable of endorsing her work in “The Lovely Bones.” If they are, that’s by far their most serious offense.

Some members of the “Occupy” movement have been advocating for the elimination of all debt in America. Aside from being complete economic suicide and one of the most idiotic proposals of all time — this would be a move that would literally shut down the entire global economy and honestly could start a world war — it’s not consistent with the “Occupy” movement’s own message.

Who exactly would manage this bailout (that’s what this would be, whether the protesters call it that or not), and wouldn’t that require more government intervention in the financial sectors? Aren’t many of the large debt holders in America firms on Wall Street? These are the policies and institutions against which these people are supposedly protesting.

Or what about the people calling for a living wage for all Americans, regardless of employment? Combine that with a free college education for all Americans – another demand from some of the “Occupy” protesters – and you’ll see the problem.

Why go to college if you’re guaranteed a living wage? Why not just stay home and play “Halo” on Xbox Live? The problem there, of course, is that no one will be working at Microsoft to run Xbox Live, but that’s not their concern.

The only thing these people are occupying is lunacy.

Without a coherent message, the “Occupy” movement is coming to an end.

They don’t even have an internally consistent message, which is something that even PETA can put together, so this is not a movement that is going to last for too long.

I have to give them all credit for this: they seem to realize that their time is running out.

Instead of developing a message that makes sense, they’re doubling down. While this is obviously the wrong strategy, I’m all for it because hopefully it will make them go away sooner.

The problem is, the movement was irrelevant long before I wrote this article. It’s been the 16th minute for a few minutes now. Tick, tock.

Joshua Madden is a graduate student in information systems from Olathe, Kan., and is the Lariat’s A&E editor.