Under the Hat: Occupied - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Occupied

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While you and I have been occupied with our sixty hour work weeks and our chauffeuring to and from soccer practice and piano lessons, a small group of true believers have been occupying Perry Square, part of a national movement to bring attention to the base line unfairness they see in a have-and-have-not world.

For some two weeks now these hearty souls have camped out in the gazebo in the Square, using their constitutionally protected rights of lawful assembly to rage against the machine.

And they are promising to stay there until things change.

There are some problems with this strategy.

The first is the lack of a clear message.

Different protesters want different things.

Some want to bring Wall Street to its knees. Others want a break from their student loans.

Still others talk of an almost Marxist plan to strip the wealth from all who have earned it to spread it out to the masses.

You'll hear the argument that America was built on fairness; the truth is, America wasn't built to be fair, it was built to be free.

The machinery that allows some to accumulate wealth will by its nature also have the poor.

Some have railed against the media too and fair enough, but the truth is that to get anything done in America these days you have to have a specific message and use public forums wisely to stay on task until it gives.

That brings up another problem. These groups say they are fiercely apolitical and don't want anything to do with politics or political parties.

But any change that they seek will ultimately be through a political solution; to stay out of politics means that you are ignoring the built-in means the country already has for bringing about change.

Go to the polls and throw the bums out.

Then there's the issue of sustainability. How long can you stand in a park while life keeps churning around you, especially at this time of year.

"We know what winter is like in Erie," one protester told me. "We'll be fine."

But through all the obstacles the Occupy movement does one thing really well and that is providing an outlet for the biggest frustration found among us common folk.

That feeling of helplessness that the powerful can do what they want and get bailed out if they're caught.

If anything, the Occupy movement has provided an outlet for that frustration and therein may lie its greatest success.

Protesters may not be able to occupy a park forever.

But occupying hearts and minds, is another playing field entirely.

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