You have probably formed your own opinion of the Occupy movement as it reaches its two-month anniversary. Starting with Occupy Wall Street, and then spreading to cities across the country, the Occupiers have rightfully received lots of media coverage, some that was quick to point out that the organization has no goals and therefore cannot ever be “successful.” Whether just dense or intentionally obtuse, the Occupy critics fail to acknowledge that their coverage in itself is a victory; because every article, broadcast or photo of the group increases awareness of their chief complaint: that there is a vast and widening economic gap in this country that tilts institutionally towards the wealthiest one percent of our citizens.
In a recent article, the Washington Post called Occupy a “charming mess”, but went on to praise it as a great example of successful leaderless movements like those that advanced the causes of women and minorities. At the root of those successful movements were persistence and nonviolence. Again, critics can easily point to anecdotal evidence of uncivil behavior in all large scale protest movements, but in Occupy, like those movements that proceeded it, it is the exception rather than the rule, which brings us to our own grassroots protest here in Lincoln County.
The beauty of their nonviolent protest lay in the fact that it arose from the government’s apparent inability to solve the problem for them, and they chose to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to peaceably assemble to voice their displeasure and raise the communities awareness that harmful, albeit legal, drugs were being sold to the children of our county. And to that end, the were wholly successful. Not only did the protesters raise the awareness of those who passed by, but the story of their demonstration was the lead story on two of Lexington’s largest TV stations on Saturday evening news programs.
Hopefully, the Crab Orchard protesters’ example will be the spark needed to launch similar demonstrations across the commonwealth to get these drugs and their inevitable replacements banned for good.
Congratulations and thanks are due all who turned out this weekend to help raise awareness of this ongoing problem in our county. Maybe, next time you will join them in this most American activity.