As we're coming upon an election year that could best be described as "tumultuous", there are a lot of questions being asked about the direction we want to take in leading the country. People have been very good about identifying the problem, but identifying, and agreeing on, the solution, seems to be where we are having our difficulties.
In 2008, the nation embraced change. I won't disparage the intent of our President, though I disagree with him frequently, as I do believe he is a sincere man. It must be noted, however, that sincerity does not necessarily translate into able leadership. One of the problems of the 2008 election was that many Americans embraced change without knowing what chnge they wanted to make. All they knew was that they were tired of the status quo and wanted something different.
The problem with that mentality becomes obvious when you realize that every alternative solution cannot be the best solution. There are good solutions and bad solutions, and a lot of solutions that fall somewhere in between.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, for instance, consists of a great deal of Americans who agree that there is a problem, and although there is disagreement as to the exact nature of the problem, there is ample agreement as to its source. They're now setting about on the sticky phase of deciding what, exactly, needs to be done. But as they set about doing it with cameras in their faces and reporters who are used to instant solutions wanting to know what they want done, it's tricky.
Critics of the OWS movement have identified the lack of a clear agenda as its biggest liability; I am going to say (almost certainly not without argument) that it is its biggest strength. You would not start a business without a sound business plan that had been well researched and well thought out. There's a lot of work that goes into the constructive phase of a business plan, a lot of brainstorming, of trial and error, and research. And the finished product does not reflect the reams of discarded paper, of half sketched ideas dreamed up in the middle of the night, or of sticky notes attached to various places around the room.
Put simply, the building phase can be a convoluted mess.
OWS is currently in the building phase. They're bringing together a bunch of people from varying backgrounds with very different ideas on what the next step should be. And to their credit, they are including as many voices as possible in the process. Rather than act reactively to the next election, they are acting proactively. Even in Texas, with our insanely early candidate filing deadline, these discussions are taking place while people who might be interested in running for office have ample time to discuss it and file.
Unlike the Tea Party, which was quickly coopted by politicians telling them what they should want, the Occupy movement is taking time to gain critical mass and get a consensus of ideas on how to move forward. To put it simply, and in the best "geek-speak" possible (although this will probably be the most contentious point of my discussion), in a Mac and Windows world, the OWS movement is the Linux, the open source political movement.
To those who fear that we won't move past the disordered state we're in now, there is a timeline and there is a plan to build up the OWS movement. The movement will be choosing delegates, and is working towards a consensus in the summer that will be presented in advance of the party conventions. I don't know what the finished product will be (nobody does), but you can rest assured it will not be a hastily thought up, reactionary response.
You don't need to look far to know that we need to drastically change course as a nation. You only need to ask yourself what the solution is. And the OWS movement is working to determine that. It's my hope that you will at least consider listening to what comes forth.