EDITOR’S NOTE: Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.
By now, everyone has no doubt heard of the Occupy movement that is gaining some notoriety and even some traction across the country.
St. George is host to one of the some 1,200 cities now hosting a sect of this movement, as Occupy Saint George has now held two meetings at Vernon Worthen Park. The meetings have a paltry showing in comparison to some more notable cities and it is likely due to the smaller population here. Factors to the small turnout here could also be due to the large conservative base of this city and the state as a whole.
What is happening here is nothing new. Civil disobedience is not a new concept but rather has been exercised in various ways throughout U.S. history, from the Revolutionary War to the march of Martin Luther King.
What is new is the speed with which information can be obtained, disseminated, and spread via various technological outlets.
And if you want to get a gauge on how effective it can be, you only need look to recent events in Tunisia and Egypt just this year to do it.
Bureaucrats, politicians or corporate lobbyists, but rather the largely disenfranchised youth and the commoners of the land did not spearhead the social media-driven movements that ultimately led to the demise of totalitarian regimes. It was not a militia or an invading army that demanded reform and obtained it by force, but rather an undeterred and resolute majority who simply said “enough.”
But this is not Egypt.
That country would fit neatly within the lines of a couple of our states here in the U.S. It is hardly fair to compare these two in terms of the potential for successful revolt.
But how much influence did the events of earlier this year have on what is now taking place here?
It only takes a small hope in a large and daunting cause for something of epically powerful proportions to take root: belief that it can be done.
Seeing a peaceful revolt succeed in another country with poverty-like living conditions and a fraction of the people in numbers, is inspiring those with far more at their disposal to step up and say: “We can do it. It could work.”
It you watch the talking heads on the tube, or listen to the local and national leaders on the matter, you will here a redundant and resounding theme telling you how things are getting better.
But, among the common people, there is an impending and growing sense of unrest. An acute, yet illusive, notion that all is not well. And it’s getting worse. It is the compunction to do something before it is too late that is becoming the tie that binds the citizens of this country regardless of what their political affiliation may be.
And it should be noted here that while clear, concise and obtainable goals are not the strong suit of this movement, especially here locally, there is something that distinguishes it from what has happened over seas: the Occupy movement does not seek at all to over throw a government, but rather to make the demand that the government return itself to its right and proper role.
It is largely the contention of this movement that government should do what it is told by the will of the people, not the will of corporate conglomerates or lobbyists and special interest groups. And this happens at the national levels as well as right here in St. George where the best interest of the citizens is often placed in the light of what one ideology thinks is best. It is a national problem that weaves in and out of the fabric of our states and cities. It varies from region to region but its commonality is its utter defiance of the basic tenants of the principles that should be governing this land and people are gathering in numbers to say enough is enough.
If those in government cannot fix the problem, than the people will step up and help it to do so.
What the Occupy movement needs, beyond a clear, defined and stated objective, is the unison and cohesion to carry it out. But more than that, it needs a victory, however small, so that its participants can see the hope in it and its opponents can see it is serious force to be reckoned with.
I for one am cautiously optimistic of what could aptly be called a “first strike of sorts.” What this movement does or does not accomplish is hardly as important as the precedent it will set for movements to follow, just as it followed the movements across the globe.
Lessons will be learned and implemented and the will of a people undeterred will be adhered to. Or, its voice will be quenched, if for a little while.
See you out there.
Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.