Whenever people are complacent and have most of the things they need, they generally don’t protest that much.
It takes a jolt to ignite their asses onto the street to fight for their lives, whether it be the beginning of ACT UP in the ’80s, the Million Man March in ’95, the anti-war protests under Dubya’s administration, or the public outcries against the Mormons after Prop 8 passed.
But in general, it hasn’t felt like an activist generation since the 1960s, seeing as most of the protests I mentioned were relatively isolated, and besides, for years most people have seemed content to plaster a few words of protest online here and there and consider their work done.
Well, this generation could emerge as the angriest, most vocal, least complacent one since the glory days.
They’ve been outraged into action, furious at the way the big guys have played Russian roulette with our futures while buttressing their own out of sheer greed and carelessness.
The resulting “Occupy Wall Street” protests have been endearingly homemade and passionate, just like grassroots happenings in the old days, classically reeking of sincere anger and righteous indignation over the horrors of social injustice.
Even the back-and-forth complaints with the police (“They didn’t warn us …” “Yes, we did”) and all the arrests and incidents of brutality are reminiscent of what happened back in the day, when you took your own life in your hand by fighting for what was left of it.
It’s a shame that it took a toilety economy to spur this movement, but it’s heartening to see people taking a stand again rather than just sitting around and ordering overpriced vodka.
And it’s just the beginning. Long live Generation Outrage.
Can a folk-music revival be far behind?