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Occupying Your Hometown. November 6, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
Tags: , , , ,

Well OK, Amherst isn’t exactly my “hometown” – it’s an hour’s drive away.  But as the scene of my Adventures in Higher Education, and as a place where the Future (read: college kids) lives amongst the Dinosaurs (read: We The Old People,) it still resonates as a nexus of power and a place of potential change.  After all, I remember well the activism of the early 70’s and how it changed the general public’s conception of what the United States was actually doing in Viet Nam.

So when I heard that an Occupy action was going to take place at the town’s main intersection, which just happens  to be the parking place for one of this country’s Great Big Banks, Bank of America:

I took the first important step by responding to an email invitation, hedging my response against more self-serving temptations like going out looking for photos, by saying that I’d “try” to be there.

And I did  make it, albeit a bit late.  Good thing I hadn’t committed to setting the thing up, but BOOOO on me for not being there to help.

Now, being late, I sorta expected to drive into a scene of some hundreds of college folks making a lot of noise, fueled perhaps by their understanding of their dwindling prospects as the wealth and opportunities of This Great Nation settle comfortably into the pockets of the Already Wealthy.

But instead, I saw a group of activists of my own general vintage:

…and while it was gratifying to connect with those I spoke with as the Action proceeded, I have to admit that it was a bit deflating to see ABSOLUTELY NO ONE from the college community.

I mean, it would have been inconceivable  in 1970 to see the Greatest Generation out there protesting the Viet Nam war, alone, without student support.

This may be the best argument ever for reinstating the draft – I can’t help wondering how different the demographics of this gathering would be if those who benefit from our Corporate Hegemony were called on to put their lives where their line of credit now sits.  For the hour I spent mingling and offering “Thank You’s” to these folks, Our Future brushed past in tight pants and sexy boots, Mall-ward bound and thinking about less weighty things than their own futures.

As if there were such a thing.

I spoke with a couple of people who seemed to be positioned at the base of this action, for which I can’t possibly thank them enough.  They were all of the mind that Occupy Amherst’s action hadn’t been adequately linked to the broader Occupy movement, and that if I wanted to see young people gettin’ jiggy wit it, I ought to check out neighboring Northampton’s regular Occupy events.

I’m totally inclined to do that.  I need to know that The Future I’m fighting for cares enough about the outcome of this battle to stand and fight for themselves.

This isn’t just an intellectual distinction.  If young people can’t be convinced of the dangers of the Bread and Circus they’re now being served, we’re not going to make it.  We The Vocal are getting older, losing our voices, and destined to settler into the rhythms of a life spent trying to keep our greying heads above the rising tides of income inequality and the concentration of wealth in the hands of people we’ll never know.

And this kind of “sustenance existence” isn’t conducive to worrying about others.  We’ll have our hands full just staying warm in winter.

So come on, kids – show us you’re not just riding the wave of prosperity generated by the the coordinated movements of your parents’ shoulders.  We paid it forward with the expectation that the ball would be picked up and moved down-field by YOU.

I hope that challenge is taken personally, though I doubt if many from the Next Great Generation will read this.

Meanwhile, I’ll pray that you prove me wrong.