Protests Signify a Historic Shift




David Vanderveen’s column comparing the Occupy movement to his own charmed life (“Occupy Laguna,” Nov. 11) is at best trivializing a historic shift in the American political discourse and at worst an exercise in narcissism.


David, you say it’s difficult to relate to the Occupiers of Wall Street when you live in Laguna. Well of course it is, if you have no empathy or interest in what’s happening beyond our gilded hills.  It’s right in front of you – in LA, San Diego and even Irvine. So while people of all stripes are grappling with inclement weather, hard cement, and in some cases police brutality to protest the inequality of wealth in this country, you compare it to your own weekday occupation of some perfect waves. Really? Cheeky, but irrelevant to the rest of us.


To say that the Occupiers have no articulate voice and that this is just “what they do when they perceive injustice,” is a lazy, uninformed opinion. We are witnessing a tectonic shift in our country. For the first time since the depression, people are saying the American Dream has failed them. That the banks who they bailed out have now turned their backs on them. That 30% of our college grads are unemployed and saddled with unserviceable debt.  That the promise that hard work and home ownership would lead to a secure life is a lie. That our wealthy “job creators” are instead outsourcing them to foreign workers. That corporate profits continue to soar alongside record levels of poverty. And solutions are being proffered: that businesses’ control of government must be blunted with campaign finance reform. That people move their money out of big banks. I’m sure more will come.


Then you describe what you believe is the real culprit in our malaise: globalization. Your solution: to revolutionize new business creation. That’s it? One sentence? But how, David? You infer that more companies like Apple would solve our problems.


I’ve been to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA and I can tell you it’s not about the products we make. The Occupy movement is not anti-capitalist. These people are you and me — college students, grads, business professionals and laborers. It’s housewives, mothers, grandmothers and children who are heartbroken that a mighty country they so dearly love has come off the rails. There but for the grace of god – or lucky sperm club – goes you, David.


And since government is so broken they have finally formed a resurrection to ensure a better future for all of us. I’m so proud of this moment in our history. I just hope those of you living here realize that even amid a paradise of beauty and affluence, we are all interconnected and must work together to find solutions for those who are suffering. And those who write about it have an obligation to work hard to tell us what’s really going on.


Billy Fried, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thanks Shady. I tried before but they neutered me. Kept bumping me out for “advertising.” Guess I wasn’t cheery enough 😉


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