Austin Hill
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“…You don’t see CEO’s driving to work in a junky old Honda like I am.  They’re driving Bentley’s.  And I want MY BENTLEY! And I want it NOW!”

Those were the remarks from a caller to my local talk show at Boise, Idaho’s 580 KIDO radio last Wednesday. “Bobby” is a self-described entry-level worker at Walmart and he was calling my show to explain to me what the “Occupy fill-in-the-blank-with-the-name-of-the-city” protests were all about (yes, even in “red state Idaho” the protestor class was blocking traffic and creating quite a disturbance).

As Bobby explained it, he doesn’t get a fair hourly wage or an adequate dental plan from Walmart. And, of course, I don’t “get it” either, because I just don’t know what it’s like to be in his shoes (he doesn’t know a thing about me, but he’s certain of his assessment  nonetheless).

It’s been quite an eye-opening week as the “Occupy Wall Street” uprisings have spread nationwide.  And now that President Obama has blessed the movement with his “sympathies,” it’s time for us peaceable, law abiding, working class types to consider what those “voices” are saying.

The “movement” is disorganized, and it’s nearly impossible to connect it with any specific groups or associations (the recent “honing in” on the protests by labor unions and race-based activist groups and other typical Democrat party supporters notwithstanding).  Yet despite the ambiguities, I’ve been studying-up on the protestors quite carefully this past week, reviewing lots of news reports and interviews, and conducting a few of my own interviews as well. Here are a few of my observations.

The movement is very “white:” Watch any news report or homegrown video of the protests, and it becomes apparent – most of “them” appear to be “Anglo,” even in heavily non-white cities like Los Angeles. Of course there’s nothing necessarily wrong with people being “white,” but it is noteworthy that in most any other case where large concentrations of white people were publicly demonstrating and advocating for something other than socialism and anarchy, the dominant media in our country would immediately presume that the movement had a “racist/white supremacist” connection.

But this is different, and I first noticed this as I watched activist Al Sharpton interviewing a protestor on MSNBC last week. As Sharpton robotically blurted out the sentence “the movement contains diversity and non-violence” (I won’t bother correcting Al’s grammar),  split-screen showed a young white male spokesperson that Sharpton was about to interview, and another shot of a nearly all-white crowd. It appears that as long as the white folks are opposing free-markets and capitalism, being white is just fine for Al and company.

Many in the movement seem very articulate, and appear to be college educated: I’ve been struck with how well-spoken many of the interviewed protestors have been, and how many of them claim to be school teachers (which requires one to have a bachelor’s degree at a minimum) and members of other white-collar professions. This past week I’ve been engaged in email dialog with a man who is a design engineer for the publicly traded Micron Technology Corporation, who took time off from his job to protest in Boise (he emails from a Micron address, and is livid with me about my questioning and criticism of the movement).

In another instance, I watched a video report on Youtube of a man who traveled from St. Louis to join the protestors in New York City. Speaking to a reporter, protestor “Justin” said:

“..All I know is that in my hometown, my fellow school teachers are losing their jobs in our district, while executives on Wall Street continue to get million dollar bonuses from companies that are financed with our tax dollars.  How it is that corporate America has more of a voice in our government that everyday Americans is beyond me, and it needs to stop…”

Many of the protestors seem to lack critical thinking skills: His eloquent vocal presentation notwithstanding, “Justin” didn’t demonstrate the slightest ability to navigate the complexities of local, regional and national issues. Somebody in St. Louis lost their job, while somebody else in New York got “rich,” so therefore America is an unjust nation. It’s pretty simplistic – and faulty – “thinking.”

Many of the protestors seem to have no basic comprehension of economics, history, or common “Western thought:”  “Lisa,” a local protest spokesperson in my hometown, explained on my talk show that it’s a “leaderless movement,” and “everyone consents to everything before we do anything.” She would appear to be unfamiliar with French philosopher Francois Rabelas’ concept that “nature abhors a vacuum,” and that “leaderless movements” always devolve into either chaos, or dictatorships.

And Victoria seemed thrilled that “the money is flowing in from everywhere,” as she noted to a New York Daily News reporter that tens of thousands of dollars have already been “donated” the movement. She apparently is unfamiliar with the concept of “rational self interest,” a basic tenant of free market economics. She likes money, and so do investors and executives – yet she is obsessed with her concerns over other people’s “greed.”

The protestors will likely be with us for the foreseeable future. The rest of us need to wake-up and realize that they are a big part of what animates the Obama campaign.“…You don’t see CEO’s driving to work in a junky old Honda like I am.  They’re driving Bentley’s.  And I want MY BENTLEY! And I want it NOW!”

Those were the remarks from a caller to my local talk show at Boise, Idaho’s 580 KIDO radio last Wednesday. “Bobby” is a self-described entry-level worker at Walmart and he was calling my show to explain to me what the “Occupy fill-in-the-blank-with-the-name-of-the-city” protests were all about (yes, even in “red state Idaho” the protestor class was blocking traffic and creating quite a disturbance).

As Bobby explained it, he doesn’t get a fair hourly wage or an adequate dental plan from Walmart. And, of course, I don’t “get it” either, because I just don’t know what it’s like to be in his shoes (he doesn’t know a thing about me, but he’s certain of his assessment  nonetheless).

It’s been quite an eye-opening week as the “Occupy Wall Street” uprisings have spread nationwide.  And now that President Obama has blessed the movement with his “sympathies,” it’s time for us peaceable, law abiding, working class types to consider what those “voices” are saying.

The “movement” is disorganized, and it’s nearly impossible to connect it with any specific groups or associations (the recent “honing in” on the protests by labor unions and race-based activist groups and other typical Democrat party supporters notwithstanding).  Yet despite the ambiguities, I’ve been studying-up on the protestors quite carefully this past week, reviewing lots of news reports and interviews, and conducting a few of my own interviews as well. Here are a few of my observations.

The movement is very “white:” Watch any news report or homegrown video of the protests, and it becomes apparent – most of “them” appear to be “Anglo,” even in heavily non-white cities like Los Angeles. Of course there’s nothing necessarily wrong with people being “white,” but it is noteworthy that in most any other case where large concentrations of white people were publicly demonstrating and advocating for something other than socialism and anarchy, the dominant media in our country would immediately presume that the movement had a “racist/white supremacist” connection.

But this is different, and I first noticed this as I watched activist Al Sharpton interviewing a protestor on MSNBC last week. As Sharpton robotically blurted out the sentence “the movement contains diversity and non-violence” (I won’t bother correcting Al’s grammar),  split-screen showed a young white male spokesperson that Sharpton was about to interview, and another shot of a nearly all-white crowd. It appears that as long as the white folks are opposing free-markets and capitalism, being white is just fine for Al and company.

Many in the movement seem very articulate, and appear to be college educated: I’ve been struck with how well-spoken many of the interviewed protestors have been, and how many of them claim to be school teachers (which requires one to have a bachelor’s degree at a minimum) and members of other white-collar professions. This past week I’ve been engaged in email dialog with a man who is a design engineer for the publicly traded Micron Technology Corporation, who took time off from his job to protest in Boise (he emails from a Micron address, and is livid with me about my questioning and criticism of the movement).

In another instance, I watched a video report on Youtube of a man who traveled from St. Louis to join the protestors in New York City. Speaking to a reporter, protestor “Justin” said:

“..All I know is that in my hometown, my fellow school teachers are losing their jobs in our district, while executives on Wall Street continue to get million dollar bonuses from companies that are financed with our tax dollars.  How it is that corporate America has more of a voice in our government that everyday Americans is beyond me, and it needs to stop…”

Many of the protestors seem to lack critical thinking skills: His eloquent vocal presentation notwithstanding, “Justin” didn’t demonstrate the slightest ability to navigate the complexities of local, regional and national issues. Somebody in St. Louis lost their job, while somebody else in New York got “rich,” so therefore America is an unjust nation. It’s pretty simplistic – and faulty – “thinking.”

Many of the protestors seem to have no basic comprehension of economics, history, or common “Western thought:”  “Lisa,” a local protest spokesperson in my hometown, explained on my talk show that it’s a “leaderless movement,” and “everyone consents to everything before we do anything.” She would appear to be unfamiliar with French philosopher Francois Rabelas’ concept that “nature abhors a vacuum,” and that “leaderless movements” always devolve into either chaos, or dictatorships.

And Victoria seemed thrilled that “the money is flowing in from everywhere,” as she noted to a New York Daily News reporter that tens of thousands of dollars have already been “donated” the movement. She apparently is unfamiliar with the concept of “rational self interest,” a basic tenant of free market economics. She likes money, and so do investors and executives – yet she is obsessed with her concerns over other people’s “greed.”

The protestors will likely be with us for the foreseeable future. The rest of us need to wake-up and realize that they are a big part of what animates the Obama campaign.

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Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.