Could the Occupy Movement Gain Better Exposure By Paying It Forward?
One day at work, a coworker asked me what was going on near the City Hall in Los Angeles where there was a tent city growing. I replied, “What do you mean?” I had not been watching local news, and I quickly completed a search on the internet. To my surprised, I learned that it was the Occupy Movement (Movement), which is an organized protest that has started in many cities to voice its disapproval of economic inequality, particularly the protesters’ unhappiness toward America’s top one percent. In Los Angeles, the Occupy Movement has grown into street parades and protests blocking streets and freeways, requiring numerous helicopters to hover in downtown Los Angeles.
The Movement differs from City to City; however, the common theme seems to be some type of disruption to show discontent. In Oakland, the Movement chose to set fires on buildings and vandalize businesses with spray-paint. In Los Angeles, they are blocking traffic. In Wall Street, one Occupy demonstrator while protesting even had the idea to file a trademark on the term “Occupy Wall Street.”
I believe that the Occupy Movement fails to gain anyone’s sympathy and for the most part is ignored except for media sensationalism. The Movement’s energy has been completely wasted. What the Movement could have done is apply the “Pay It Forward” concept to gain support.
“Pay it forward” is a concept involving random act of kindness. The idea has been around since Benjamin Franklin. According to Wikipedia, there is a evidence of a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Webb regarding the idea of paying it forward. “Pay It Forward” theory is alive and well. My mother-in-law recently went to celebrate a relative’s birthday at a teppanyaki style Japanese restaurant like Benihana with a couple of other relatives and shared a table with a two other customers. When it was time to pay for their share of the lunch, my mother-in-law learned that the other two customers who left earlier picked up the tab for the entire eating station. This was truly a “pay it forward” moment.
I have experienced it at a toll booth where we were told by the toll booth attendant that the driver in a car ahead of us paid for our toll. Recently, I gave a coworker who recently signed up to take the California bar examination my husband’s set of bar examination books because a friend of mine lent me her set about two decades ago.
If I could talk to the people behind the Movement, I would tell them to come up with different “Pay It Forward” actions to show that the Movement is comprised of kind-hearted people. In Los Angeles, the Movement could meet but also collect canned food for food shelters, or women with long hair can donate their hair for cancer patients. If the Movement continues to Thanksgiving, they could volunteer at some missions serving the poor the festive meals. They could team up with Heal the Bay and clean the beaches. The Movement needs to know that there is no value in its current disturbance.