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Occupiers Wichita Style
What I wish I'd said. . . but I best start with what was said in a respectful exchange over the patio fence at Hero's last Friday night in Wichita's Old Town. . .
I engaged a small parade of chanting protesters by asking them what it is they want. One twenty-something, former student said, "I did every thing right--I went to college, got a degree, now i can't get a job and i need my teeth fixed." I asked, "Do you expect someone listening to fix them, is that what you want? "No, i just want it to be equal in America--for it to be fair." "Revolution!" piped in the girl beside him with the sign about Justice. "What does that mean to you?" I asked her. "Do you want to replace capitalism?" Before she could answer the quiet boy behind her chimed in, "Yeah, Capitalism is evil!" To which the former student and sign girl, snapped in unison, "No it's not!" Ok, so they did not have the narrative in sync. And maybe some of the group had nothing else going on that Friday night, but something pulled them together--there was a plan to show up at least. So i asked, "Who is funding this protest?" "No one. This is a grassroots thing. And come tomorrow because we are going to have free food!" said the guy with no job.
I told them all I am worried about them because I do know who is funding them and they are being used. Big time in a small town. Well, we talked for about 15 minutes and my son who was sitting at the outdoor table with me took photos because we were getting more attention from the patio crowd than the local contestants of Dancing with the Stars
We parted with a hand shake and the young man who hopes for new dental work from the Revolution said, "I appreciate people like you who actually talk with us and express another point of view. I mean I want to evaluate what we are doing and if I am thinking right." Brilliant! And that young man gave me a little hope. However, i wish I had given him more than a conversation; I wish I had given him a list of books to read while he is unemployed, books he probably didn't read in college. And would recommend some research on Van Jones, Frances Fox Piven and Cass Sunstein to name a very few and what they have to do with the Wall Street protests and who indeed supports them.
The reading list would include:
The Shadow Party by David Horowitz and Richard Poe
5000 Year Leap by W Cleon Skousen
" Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr.
The Black Book of Communism by Mark Kramer
Modern Times by Paul Johnson
History puts today's headlines in context. Research reveals the players and the pawns. In this country, we still have a choice who we side with. For good or ill.
Check out a fascinating interview of Wall Street Occupiers: