Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Occupy Candidate

The one point on which I always disagreed with Occupy was politics.

I agreed with every other point they made, but their refusal to become a political party was, I thought, a huge mistake. It appears I was very wrong about that.

You know what's funny about the huge holes in media coverage surrounding Bernie Sanders? I've seen this exact kind of thing before from the media. There was a complete media blackout of Occupy for fully the first three to four weeks. Most people I know who are my parents' age learned about Occupy from me first, because most of my news comes from my Facebook news feed.

To me, this says that the difference between an internet native (most millennials and a sizable number of Gen X) and anyone else is that the social media infrastructure we have come to rely on is both faster and more organically chaotic than the mainstream media can comprehend or keep up with. I'm sure there's a little deliberate censorship involved, certainly from Fox, but for the most part they don't cover Bernie for the same reason they didn't cover Occupy: they really have no idea what's going on, so what can they say but nothing?

Our parents and grandparents had the civil rights movement. And while we should be glad and honored to carry the torch for everyone to be accepted for who they are, it's becoming clear that the economic rights movement is the one our generations (Gen X and millennials) will be known for. We've already seen that our revolution will be the one that nobody else sees coming. That is our greatest advantage, and the best part is that we can talk about it here on the internet in plain sight, because it's effectively invisible to a large percentage of those who might want to oppose "radical" socialist ideas like everyone being able to eat and have a place to live, health care, and education. Easily done if corporations pay their fair share of taxes and we tone down the military budget... but there is no profit in any of that.

That being said, corporate America and the wealth-hoarding sociopaths of the .1% aren't morons. The future will be either socialist utopia or cyberpunk dystopia. While that's a joke, there's a bit of truth in it. Is it our duty to drag the rest of our country from war and greed to mutual aid and support?

Well, no one else is stepping up, so I'd say the answer is yes.

So here's the thing about Occupy: what if they did exactly what they intended to do? They identified a whole host of endemic problems in America that have since been picked up by those who feel called to do so. As Jeff Daniels said in his oh-so-viral clip from The Newsroom, the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that it exists. You might say Occupy Wall Street was the summoning ritual for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others like them.

Occupy threw down a gauntlet. Bernie has picked it up. And I have faith that whatever happens, it all gets better from here.

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