No key representative or figurehead is leading Occupy Wall Street, and any public figure who has participated in it has been dwarfed by the sea of citizens who, frankly, aren’t looking for a leader.
Therein lies the key to what has escalated throughout the country in the past month. It has been patronized by government and the media for being somehow inept and immature in its apparent lack of purpose or stated goals. Yet I don’t see a lack of either. I see both shining bright in the masses that have united from both sides of the political spectrum to rise against the bodies that have controlled them for far too long and have kept a truth from them that consequently keeps them ignorant and downtrodden.
Those who criticize the movement for being purposeless know exactly what its purpose is, and strangely enough it is those same critics who may have something to lose from it all, for they work at the behest of money and corporate greed.
This movement is not one merely against government or against the rich. This is a movement for democracy. And in a land that prides itself as its originator in the modern era, democracy has never been as absent. The Tea Party accelerated under the pretense that democracy was being taken from them by Barack Obama and the federal government. They’d been misled. They played right into the hands of the machine that had been taking it from them and every other working man and woman in the country, to help bring down the man who was, at least initially, working in a direction that opposed the interests of that machine.
It did bring him down, for the President now stands frozen in a dark cave afraid to take even the slightest step in the light. Too afraid now to stand really for anything as part of some sad, strange desperation to maintain everyone’s approval by avoiding further scrutiny. It is the kind of irony not uncommon to the political process.
And so as these weeks unfold and we begin to realize this sad truth, the greater we realize how the second barrier keeping us from our long lost democracy is the ineffectiveness of our government in the face of the greedy ruthlessness of the corporate machine corrupting it, a machine headquartered in Wall Street.
Yet our government’s ineffectiveness, its capacity for corruption and manipulation by wealthy elites carry some very serious implications for its own future. If our government is to exist, it must actually govern, and speak for those who lack the vehicles of wealth and media to be heard. Otherwise government will fade into oblivion, as it is now so close to doing, for the power can only remain with the few for so long. The masses can only be kept down for so long. If the government will not act, then the people will. And they are.
Government has failed its people by doing absolutely nothing. It’s done nothing while letting corporations fund political campaigns without limits and in letting corporations pay little to no taxes to help pay off the debt they created. If government has proven anything, it has proven its own irrelevance. It has proven that the real government, indeed the real dictatorship that the Tea Party found so terrifying lies not in elected officials but in that very select, very rich group of people.
It has proven that the greatest power, or at least the last remaining power to save democracy, lies in numbers. It lies in the collective will. It lies in the majority. It lies with the people. If we want any sort of real change, we can only look to ourselves and to our neighbors now. For leaders cannot help us. That is why there are none in this movement. It doesn’t need one. It doesn’t want one.
And in the first true realization that we all share the same problems and desire the same solution, politics will cease to matter, as it has already shown signs of doing so. As for the leaders, they will follow once the people finally lead. And this past month has shown the first signs of the people doing so, at long last.