The Occupy movement started out as peaceful, anti-Wall Street, anti-corporate, anti-big bank demonstrations, but didn't stay that way for very long. Soon after the movement began, weeds of violence began to sprout during Occupy events in large cities. There was pushing and shoving. People were arrested and hauled away.
We all saw it coming, but at least for the most part the message remained consistent as the "99 percent" continued to stand together in hopes of making some kind of difference for the working class in this country.
But as well-meaning as they claimed they would be, have they made a noticeable difference? The answer arguably is no. And occupiers know it. Perhaps that's why they started to target candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has, on a couple of occasions, had speaking engagements disrupted by protesters. A couple weeks ago, a group of occupiers made their presence known as another candidate, Newt Gingrich, was speaking to students at the University of Iowa.
This makes news, but does it help the cause?
Occupiers plan on making their presence well known at next week's Iowa caucus as well, reportedly going so far as to coordinate plans to have some kind of impact on each of the candidates. They are free to make their presence known, but it seems the Occupiers' goals have changed, and they have become satisfied with taking on just about anyone for the sake of publicity. It seems they are sacrificing their real beliefs - and the spirit of this movement - just to snag some headlines.
While we stand behind some Occupiers' aim of using their right to free speech and their right to peacefully assemble in their efforts ignite change, we can't help but wonder if their point has somehow been lost and if they have worn out their welcome in the eyes of the public. Since they have faded from Page 1 it appears their goal now is to simply stir things up just for the sake of stirring things up.
Let's call Occupiers what they are - protesters, protestors looking for the biggest stage to make a point, even though it's safe to say some Occupiers probably don't know what that point is anymore.
We started out cheering for the Occupiers in their efforts to make a difference, but we fear recent actions by some have done nothing more than give the movement as a whole a not-so-flattering reputation.