Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Secret To Playing Chicken

With the passing of the 15th of October comes the completion of the largest coordinated protests to-date as the Occupy Wall St. (#OWS) movement continues to spread.

There have been some unfortunate incidents, including the riots in Rome and the call by an Occupy LA spokesman for bloodshed and violence and the need to introduce socialism instead of capitalism.

There have been interesting comments from within the government ranks, with political leaders from municipal governments right up to the President, indicating support for the protestors.  What is interesting about this level of support is that many politicians originally were against the protest and now support it, even if they are on record for previously having supported the things that the protestors are fighting against.

There have been loud claims of police abuse and equally loud cries of denial.

But for the most part, the protests have been peaceful.

That being said, we have reached an important juncture with the OWS movement.

In their current implementation, with vague intentions that vary broadly from protests against corporate greed to calls for the US to admit that 9/11  was a home-grown conspiracy, continued protesting will probably not produce much in the way of hoped-for results.

After all, in their current state, they are not disrupting cities, economies or anything else in a significant way.  As they are right now, they may just become another event not considered worthy of reporting by the news media.  Perhaps they will fade from the media’s attention like the sad story of the people of Haiti who have still not recovered from the earthquake of 2010, a story that rarely gets a mention now.

Once “the big splash” of a news event has passed, the impact of the event has to be increased, either steadily or sharply, in order to keep the media’s attention.  If not, the media gets bored and moves on.

In addition, the protestors are not offering solutions for anything.  It is easy to complain but much more difficult to offer solutions.

As things stand right now, the entities that the protestors are protesting against can simply outwait them, waiting until the weather gets cold and miserable and the protestors just give up and go home.

Upping the Ante

So it’s clear that the protestors need to up the ante if they wish to continue driving their agenda and if they wish to keep the media engaged.  They in fact need the media to be engaged in order to be successful.  Without the media, their effort dies.

The media expects this and will only give them attention if they raise the stakes, thus encouraging them perhaps even beyond what they would do ordinarily.

Meanwhile, governments, with the backing of police (and potentially military support) will meet the protestors as they up the ante.

Corporations will probably stay quiet unless the government forces their hand.

So in this game of chicken, like all games, there will be winners and losers.

The secret to being victorious when playing chicken is knowing when to blink … or not.

It all comes down to how close to disaster each side is willing to go to win.

The interesting thing is this.

There are no innocent bystanders in this game of chicken.  We will all be affected by the game that is currently in play.

Hopefully the right people will blink early enough and the result will be something that will produce a positive future for everyone.

Because when people don’t blink early enough or choose not to blink at all, a lot of people get hurt.

And then no one wins at all.

In service and servanthood,


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