Andrew Terefenko

Opinions Editor


I thought we knew better. I thought we had the higher cognitive functions that allowed us to surpass the baser, needlessly rebellious instincts of our southern tea party neighbours. Clearly, I thought wrong, and the reason is simple.

“Occupy Wall Street” is a movement sweeping America with its message of protesting the injustices of corporate America against the “99 per cent” blue-collar rest of the country. That same movement spread to other major cities in the country, and has manifested itself in the form of mass rallies in front of big financial organizations.

If it was contained there, this would not have been such a personal issue to me, but sadly, the reach of this movement is damning. Come next week, Occupy Bay Street is starting in Toronto as a show of solidarity with our first-world “victims in arms” of big business. This is not a good idea.

For starters, the only reason the banks (rather than you personally) get bailed out in times of crisis is because the banks have your money. The stability of any civilized nation is largely dependant on the banks that keep its money flowing through the services that need it. It may seem cold that Obama would rather give billions to already-billionaires than give you a four or five-digit lump sum, but if those banks crash and burn, trust me in the fact that you would miss them not too long afterwards.

Then there is the protest itself – he stupid, rash, abhorrent plan of planting a mess of feet in front of an arbitrary location and shouting to “be heard.” I am not denouncing the idea of protesting injustice and speaking out against evildoers, but this is not the right way to go about solving the issue. Protesting the banks, not letting workers in, disrupting the police force and harassing the institutions is only serving the purpose of slowing the recovery. By protesting the evils of Wall Street, Bay Street and that last street in Monopoly, you are making things worse.

There are things you can do, though, that are not obstructive, stupid and just plain misguided. If you want policy to change, attack the policy makers. Write letters to your representative politicians and premiers and go camp outside of parliament if you insist on doing something outdoors-y instead of civil.

Occupying Bay Street is the equivalent of using a lawnmower to remove weeds instead of ripping them out at their roots. You are only making yourself feel better temporarily, but you are not working towards real change.

I will be damned if I let these venomous ideas enter the Great White North. We are supposed to be the level-headed presence in North America, and when we fall so easily to the temptation of these grand, fruitless movements, it makes the rest of us look like assholes.

We feel bad, I get that. People are losing their jobs, the economy is showing no immediate sign of turning around and we so badly long for that time when we could have five credit cards as a joke and rather than a necessity. Things will get better if we just stop shouting so damn loud and start thinking of ways to fix this mess.

Stop making me feel so bad for loving this country. I really like living here and I plan to do so for the next few decades. We so rarely make it seem like we are a unique, independent country, and every day I feel a little more like a citizen of just another northern state in the U.S.A.

Occupying Bay Street is a bad idea, and come Oct. 15, anyone who shows up to with a sign and a bone to pick should also bring their passport, because the next step is to get out of my goddamn Canada.

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