Occupy Wall Street On My Mind

Occupy Wall Street is on my mind.
And I’m not really proud of me.
At more than halfway through my life, I have participated to a few protests.  I’m French after all.
Unfortunately I was too young for the big May 1968 turmoil that only two of my older cousins, clad in wide legged jeans, very short and tight pullovers, got a chance to live for real.
In my opinion, it was the last meaningful French protest of the twentieth century.
But because protesting is a way of life in France, I participated to a few meaningless such as anti nuclear walks which, as everyone knows, didn’t stop France to implant, rather successfully I admit, their nuclear energy program.  Actually we marched against the unplanned dumping of nuclear waste and this part is still not solved.
Protests against educational reforms were the most frequent, but higher public education in France has not changed much, and I doubt it is because of the students, who like me took the streets once in a while in the 80s.
But at least I can tell my kids that I tasted the acrid tear gas, yelled slogans and waved banners, and also ran to shelter when the police charged us. 
I’m not sure though how to tell them of the exhilarating feeling of belonging that I still recall years later.  The yearning of being an organic part of a group larger than oneself is for the time of a protest fulfilled.
Strangely, the French who can’t resist a street protest have been quite absent from the Occupy Wall Street movement. Only one day called La Journée des Indignés or the Day of the Outraged took place on October 15 and only a handful of cities participated with few protesters.
On the other hand, last weekend, I spotted a group of Occupy Wall Street supporters of all ages and genders, waving banners and signs, in Fresno, a half million Central California town traditionally conservative.
And this is when the movement started to occupy my mind. 
How come a woman, raised in a low-income family with a father unionized, didn’t jump out of her car to join the people who stood on the sidewalk, chanting their angst and anger at the shocking silence of our political leaders?
After all, although my family has been spared from the heartbreaking of loosing a job or a home or both, it is not as if I don’t know of financial and professional struggles or as if the concerns of my neighbors leave me indifferent.  Au contraire.
Would it be that I am uncomfortable with a protest that actually perfectly hits the spot?
Only the name of the movement is misleading.  The people’s outrage is not only targeting the financial world. 
It is a desperate call for hope and change.
Sadly, the man who was able to bring us together in November 2008 with the two same words is silent today.  As is the Democrat party. 
And shame on me, as are many registered Democrats. 

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