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Point: What is the endgame?

Chris Smith November 16th, 2011

We have heard praise regarding the improvement and development of downtown Oklahoma City. With cranes within view of almost every window downtown, and new roadblocks popping up daily, the morning commute is becoming a game of labyrinth with David Bowie laughing as we try to find our parking spot.

While those of us who call downtown our “work home” recognize the positive future these current headaches will bring, there has been a somewhat quiet but unappealing sector of development downtown: the tent city that has sprung up in the middle of Kerr Park.

Now I’m not one to infringe on anyone’s right to free speech and peaceful protest; I mean, I’ve got friends who are “occupiers.” However, when you’re not really saying anything other than, “Hey man, look at my red tent,” I don’t really understand what your intended political statement is.

If MSNBC wasn’t telling me what you are trying to accomplish, I wouldn’t know why there seems to be a month-long music festival (with no music) outside my office window; and I walk by your encampment every day.

What is the endgame? No one has been able to tell me, including Chris Matthews. Whatever the intent, the time has come to go home, get a job and contribute. If you haven’t figured out yet why those people in the buildings around you seem to be looking with the inquisitive stare of a child gazing through the bars at the zoo, it is because your protest is just as curious as an elephant swatting flies.

You have no objective end goal.

When the “sit-in” protests of the 1960s occurred, they were sitting where they weren’t supposed to, which had a recognizable purpose. You have a permit.

And if your argument is simply that you’re trying to “protest” capitalism, the irony isn’t lost on any of us: You’re squatting in a park named after one of our state’s great capitalists. You see, the guy whose name is on your tent park was born in a log cabin and didn’t come from much. He busted his tail to build something, and when he had to drop out of law school because he couldn’t afford it, he didn’t ask the government for a subsidy. He made his own and built a business. And yes, he wasn’t perfect and had his faults; however, the lesson should be learned that the worst job in the world is one that is simply given to you.

Occupiers without an endgame are simply squatters. You’re never going to give yourself an opportunity for upward mobility camped out in a tent in Kerr Park. You’ll give yourself an opportunity by camping out in front of a computer working to build and create. If you can’t get a job, create one. Sell Amway products, or Mary Kay for crying out loud, whatever it takes. Otherwise, you’re simply a bum, a blight on our community and a weight on our economy.

Occupiers, get out of our way if you’re not willing to join the 99 percent of the 99 percent who are working to make a better future for ourselves, our families and our community. And by the way, be careful in the coming days because that building to your west is about to come crumbling down around you in the name of capitalistic progress. Maybe it’s time the tents came down, as well, and you all got back to work.

Smith is an attorney living in Oklahoma City.

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11.17.2011 at 01:09 Reply

In reponse to "What is the endgame?" by Chris Smith: I have been involved with Occupy OKC whenever possible since its inception. My intent with this comment is to neither argue nor bicker, but merely shed light upon a few of the tenants in your commentary. The occupiers of Kerr Park are standing in solidarity with the Occupy movements worldwide. The location was chosen precisely because, as aforementioned, the "park (was) named after one of our state's greatest capitalists". Why do you think Occupy Wall Street's venue is Wall Street? The occupation inhabits the very epitome of corporate greed and social negligence. Occupy OKC thought Kerr Park was frought with political and social signicance--the irony is not lost on them. As for the frequently acclaimed 'jobless' among Occupy activists, this is a misconception. Many occupiers have jobs and 'contribute' to society, in addition to participating in social justice. Those who you claim are "simply a bum, a blight on our community" are unwillingly out of work and therefore are rightfully petitioning for a just and fair economy, not one overrun with monopolies and corporate interests pervading a so-called democratic government. We are not concerned with individual "upward mobility". We are fighting for the wrongfully disenfranchised, for worldwide political, social, and economic justice. My voice will be heard, even outside your office window. 

--Kaley Morlock, a local business owner