History is being made — Enjoy the moment, 60’s activists!

A lot of people — in the press and otherwise — are fretting that the “Occupy” movement doesn’t have a clear message. I say, relax and enjoy the moment. (But don’t lay back too much — get involved!)

History is being made. Young people are finding their voice. (Folks of all ages are involved, of course, but the bulk of the energy is being supplied by the young, as it always has been throughout history.) I say, God bless ’em.

Four years ago, Barack Obama was the rallying point for much of the nation’s youth. Then they found out that Washington politics moves much slower than they’d hoped, and got discouraged. And that Obama was not nearly as progressive as they thought. Many of us fretted that we had lost them, that the historic moment was wasted.

We needn’t have worried. Now their fight is their own. No candidate for office, no national spokesman of any kind for that matter, is leading them.

Like most of the country, they are fed up. But if not for the youth, it is likely this movement would not have happened — at least not with the force we are now witnessing.

Folks of my generation, the “boomers,” seem to be of three camps on this new movement:

Many conservatives, of course, see them as a bunch of “dirty hippies.” Remember that disparaging old term? This point of view, naturally, is reinforced and amplified daily by the conservative press.

Others sympathize on many levels, yet worry that the energy is scattered, that a few concrete demands must be put forth, or the effort will be wasted.

Still others, like myself, say “go for it!”

Sure, it’s messy. Reading the creative handmade signs, the list of grievances is long and varied, from unfairly burdensome student loan debt to environmental degradation, Wall Street corruption to lack of affordable health care. But they are all valid concerns, and they all have a common root.

And that root is the lack of real representation for the common citizen in our government. Instead of representing us, our elected officials do the bidding of the moneyed interests who fund their campaigns.

Fear not, for the movement is addressing this issue as well. I believe it must and eventually will coalesce around this one central issue.

Next stop: Occupy Congress! In fact, this is being planned. (See Occupy Congress article here.)

Many of us have long been lamenting the seeming apathy of the American citizen in this day and age. We boomers love to point to the ’60’s and our activism back then, and say, “What’s wrong with the youth of today? Their heads are so buried in their electronic devices that they can’t see what’s going on around them!”

Well, instead of over-analyzing and fretting the details, we should now be celebrating the fact that finally — FINALLY! — people are getting out onto the streets to reject the corporatization of our American experiment.

Once again, it’s time to rise up and demand “Power to the People!”

Right on.

James Israel
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