Occupation

The “Occupy” demonstrations that started with Occupy Wall Street are getting on my nerves.

I understand what the protesters want. Every generation, upon coming of age, sees inequity and believes it is wrong. Some generations make their feelings known, as this one has.

As Benjamin Disraeli said,

A man who is not a liberal at sixteen has no heart.

He continued by saying, “A man who is not a conservative at sixty has no head,” but that’s a different topic entirely.

Wanting everything to change is more effective if there’s a plan to make it happen, but even putting this aside, the entitlement the protesters feel is really making it hard to feel any sympathy for them. In Edmonton, they’re camping out on a property owned by Melcor Developments Ltd. The company maintains the downtown property as a park, for the benefit of the city residents.

I heard an interview with Ralph Young, President and CEO of Melcor Developments, yesterday on The Current. He said that for the most part, the demonstrators have been well-behaved and respectful. Unfortunately, they will not respect the property owner’s wishes in how they use the land. Melcor wants them to follow the same rules the city has instituted for the public parks, namely the city by-laws. It is certainly a reasonable request, and even generous given that the company need not be so flexible if they choose. In particular, the by-laws state that the public must vacate the parks from 11pm to 6am. The protesters will not leave, however.

Protestor Chelsea Taylor said,

It would be quite a logistical undertaking to set up our information tent, set up out art tent, set up our food tent, set up our medic tent, to rearrange all these things every morning and every night. That would be a lot more volunteer labour that would be better directed [to] making banners, to painting signs, and getting prepared for the next action to challenge the severity of the situation right now with regards to economic injustice.

So to protest an injustice, they’re going to commit an injustice of their own. Why? Because treating the owner of the property they’re using with respect is too much trouble. Cry me a river. One might deduce that this problem throws their whole action into question. If they can’t manage the logistical machinations required to pack up their tents in the evening and erect them again in the morning, how can they possibly have any meaningful input on how to change society for the better?

Regardless, to get respect, you need to show respect.

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