Time Magazine Person Of the Year: The Protester

The protester

We’re now reaching the final days of the year 2011. This year has been an adrenaline-filled one. We lived through the BP oil disaster, Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes, Occupy Wall Street, Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Japanese tsunami and earthquake, the Haitian earthquake, Egyptian protests, the toppling of the Libyan government and worldwide unrest. This has been a year for the books.

This year has also been one unlike any other. We’re reaching a turning point in worldwide consciousness.

No longer are we in the dwelling in the times of the individual and his or her materialistic possessions and narcissistic self-worth. We have stepped into the time period my grad school teacher and Mona Eltahawy (Yes, I got to sit in on a lecture with her at Oklahoma. Great speaker!) would call the “me” revolution. This is a frame of mind where the individual changes the outcome and perception of the “we” through a detailed and somewhat pretentious view of the self. The surge of the blog, the personal smart phone, personal websites, conscious music and the iPod are all indications of the obsession with the self, but that reliance on the self can reveal aspects of the human experience anyone can appreciate. There’s no better way to set an example than through taking care of yourself first. A blog, or a daily journal can reveal much more detailed aspects of this time than future historians would have gotten through quantitative means of data collection.

The best thing about this year was the resurgence of the American and world spirit. Whether you agree with the occupy movement or the tea party, you have to be happy to see the inhabitants of earth having some conviction, getting angry and not being passive robots. For so long, my generation and the ones before have been seen as contempt, pragmatic and jaded with the current way of doing things. With the US headed down a path of imprisonment, inflation, and increased surveillance, many were wondering when the American people (and people of the world) would wake up.

And some are still left asking that question. One reason why people may resist the movement is because of the medium they consume and what that medium entails. Television is what many Americans consume on a daily basis. And the occupy movement will never reach a broad enough audience as some may like because the mainstream media will not do real reporting on this movement. They can’t. Also, a revolution at the time is rarely and popular idea, but it is a necessary one. It becomes unrealistic to judge the occupy movement when it’s just started.

The mainstream media won’t report on the real issues that surround the movement because the things that are in the mainstream media’s interest conflict with what is in the interest of the movement. Shows like The Today Show and “newscasts” are too busy reporting on bogus studies that a third-grader could defend and ignoring the issues that upset the occupy movement and many Americans like: tax evasion, big government, the deficit, entitlement programs, money in politics (i.e., Citizens United case) and large quantities of power in the hands of the few: inequality. MSNBC won’t spend a lot of time reporting on General Electric’s tax evasion as long as they are owned by that very company.

The occupy movement hopes to change the current system of ownership, economics and politics through what they call “demands.” The more rational demands are campaign finance reform and limiting politicians to a three-year term limit. Some of the more radical views are eliminating bonuses for investment bankers and breaking up any company deemed too large to fail.

The facts are here. The movement has taken over 951 cities in 82 countries around the world. This is a worldwide movement that has forced the debate to focus on job creation as opposed to cuts, winding down the wars, progressive taxation and an acknowledgment of the issues Citizens United creates. The Congressional Progressive Caucus was ready to introduce the Restore the American Dream for the 99% act, but fell short when backlash from the movement fell upon 10 alleged members of the movement who were meeting with the progressive caucus. One member of the movement said this when asked about occupiers meeting with members of Congress:

“Somebody’s taking the reins in terms of representing the group to Congress. But the rest of Occupy’s not ready for that yet,”

It is uncertain whether or not the occupiers need to get involved or not in the political arena in order to get the change they desire, but it is clear that the movement has taken the world by storm and has caught many by surprise.

Time magazine was right to honor the protester, no matter how bad the magazine has become over the past few decades. Never before have we seen large numbers of people protesting across the world at the same time around the common issues of ethics, self-reliance, sustainability and the truth. Is it a coincidence that all of these countries are protesting greed, unethical actions and the misinformation campaigns at the same time. Are the protests in Africa and the Middle-East really separate from what’s happening at home in the US?

Many still ask “What do these occupiers stand for?” Maybe you should be asking yourself why you don’t know what the protesters stand for.

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