Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Americans Split on Whether OWS Activists Should Take Baths, Get Jobs

Inspired by Newt Gingrich’s common-sense grooming and lifestyle tips for Occupy Wall Street, Rasmussen decided to post this fundamental question to the public: “Should OWS activists take baths and get jobs?” As it turns out, the issue is a bitterly divisive one.

Rising Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich made news recently when he suggested that the Occupy Wall Street protesters should stop protesting and get jobs after taking a bath. Voters are evenly divided over whether that’s a good idea.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43 percent of likely U.S. voters agree with the former House speaker and think the protesters should take baths and get jobs. But an identical number (43 percent) disagree, and 14 percent more are undecided.

Which raises even more questions: Do 43 percent of voters think Occupy Wall Streeters have already taken enough baths and have enough jobs? Or do these voters agree with the underlying premise that the activists are dirty and unemployed, but prefer they remain that way?

Before considering that, take a look at another story largely ignored during the Thanksgiving holiday, which sums up an essential problem for OWS. Apparently, a group of Occupy activists tried to march from New York City to Washington to confront the supercommittee, but didn’t realize that the supercommittee would have to make a final decision by last Monday – two days before the official deadline. The protesters arrived last Tuesday:

A group of roughly 50 protesters from Occupy Wall Street marched to Washington, D.C., from as far away as Zuccotti Park in New York City just before Thanksgiving, walking about 20 miles a day and relying on volunteers for housing.

But their triumphant arrival on Tuesday didn’t quite go according to plan.

A major goal of the march was to confront the congressional budget deficit supercommittee with Occupy’s message about the needs of the 99 percent. The protesters had originally planned to arrive in D.C. on Wednesday – but when they heard that the supercommittee would finish its work earlier than planned, they walked an extra 10 miles, staying moving until 2 a.m. Monday. Still, they were too late: The committee declared failure that day.

Criticizing the Occupy protesters for things like poor hygiene or lack of work ethic may seem silly or unfair. But they’re actually symptoms of an underlying issue. What type of person has time to camp out in a park for several months, or take a 10-day walk from New York to D.C. on a whim? Beyond that – what kind of person sets off on a 10-day walk to confront a congressional committee, without finding out exactly when they have to be at their destination?

Somebody who has a lot of free time on his hands, and a completely oblivious view of the world. These are the people who make up Occupy Wall Street, which has meant a struggle for the movement to transition into a serious political force.