It says something, too much really, that the spark of protest ignited in L.A. on Saturday with the Occupy Los Angeles movement that has taken over the lawns at City Hall has as its No. 1 chant: Occupy Wall Street.
I support what they are doing 100 percent even though I’m not at all clear who they are or what they want — and I wish they had an authentic L.A. issue on their lips instead of resonating New York’s angst.
“People before profits,” they chant, but sadly they aren’t talking about the nexus between big developers and wealthy interests in L.A. and the unions and the City Hall political machine. They only mean the investment bankers, brokerage houses and controllers of capital.
America is broken from top to bottom, engaged in a suicidal war with ourselves as if no compromise lines in the sand and gridlock can put what is broken back together and guide us through the profound economic, political and social changes that we must make as we transition from the economy of conspicuous consumption and endless growth to the economy of sustainable communities and enhanced quality of lives.
I came of age in the ferment of the 1960s when the outrageous denial of civil rights to blacks and the idiocy of the Vietnam War and the falling dominoes that were going to make us all slaves of Communism were the sources of our discontent.
We were idiots back then and good people thought they needed to bomb things in order to be heard.
Visit the website of Occupy Los Angeles and watch the live streaming video and the links to other protest sites. All the bells and whistles are operating in an amateurish but authentic manner.
Think about protesters in America emulating Tunisians and Egyptians and reflect on the new world order that is emerging.
We don’t need guns and bombs to change America and restore our democracy with respect for every segment of the community. We need an intensified public conversation that Occupy LA and the Tea Party, for that matter, are starting to generate.
Nothing else short of a calamity that hurts almost everybody will end the uncivil war that we are engaged in.
This is an uprising in search of meaning. That’s what makes it so interesting.
In the ’60s, the accusation was always: What do you want? We are hearing that again. But just like 50 years ago, the significance was in the energy that come from the younger generation.
Back then, we had futures that were filled with promise as the boom in America was still gaining momentum, creating opportunity for almost everyone.
Today, this younger generation is facing the expectations that they will have less opportunity than their parents, and that they face limited opportunities for the foreseeable future.
I don’t know where this goes, if it goes anywhere at all. But I’ll get down to City Hall this week and see for myself.
I only know one thing: This protest is a lot more important than the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor that is going on around the corner and where all the TV cameras from around the world are lined up to get their two-minutes of footage that trivializes us all.