Leadership and Occupation
From the outset, in our education as Americans, we are taught about leaders.
George Washington. Father of America. The first President and a great war hero.
Lincoln. Savior of the Republic. Stoic and stern-faced. Heavy brow and stare.
Grant. Both Roosevelts. Pershing. McArthur. Eisenhower. Kennedy. Reagan.
We are taught to admire “leadership” - the person who can take the world onto his (I’m not going to even pretend that American education values female leaders) shoulders and guide it through an odyssey of hardship and, usually in the case of our nation, war.
In schools, character education programs are geared toward leadership. JROTC programs are focused on the quality of leadership. The National Honor Society, in all its oligarchic grandeur, values leadership.
That’s what we need in our great country. Leadership. Leaders of corporations and of battalions of police and of regiments of military. Great orators and leaders of men. Each generation a new group of Charlton Heston-chiseled manly men who can scoff in the face of danger and say, “There America, go there,” grabbing the Statue of Liberty by her hair and riding her through the darkness.
Now we have the Occupy movement.
Legend has it, and yes the movement is special enough to have its own tales now, that when the NYPD asked, in the early days of the movement, to speak to the leader of OWS – the NYPD was informed that there was no leader. Legend has it that this caused great consternation on the part of the NYPD.
None. Not a figurehead or a spokesperson. No starry-eyed, sweet-dimpled activist for Fox News to smear or for Newsweek to applaud.
Just the people.
In Denver, when the mayor pressed the Occupy Denver movement to elect a leader for purposes of communication and negotiation, Occupy Denver elected a three-year-old border collie named Shelby.
For the Occupy movement, in all of its cities, across the world, there is no leader.
Perhaps this stems from the beginnings of the movement, when the group Anonymous was the main driver of the protests – at least insofar as encouragement and message was concerned. Anonymous, with the creed, “Because none of us are as cruel as all of us”.
Even the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s had leaders in Dr. King and Malcolm X – but those were different movements, with different aims – though just as noble.
Let’s allow ourselves to be baffled, befuddled, and downright noodle-itching at the prospect of a movement of this size – leaderless.
It may be one of the greatest things to ever happen to the idea of leadership.