I understand that we all have the right to gather and voice our grievances with our government and I respect that right of peaceful assembly.

I have been alive long enough and have lived through enough social and political unrest to understand that there are some people who make it their life’s ambition to protest whatever is the injustice of the day.   I am sure that there are many who are well-intentioned and I am equally sure that there are some who protest for a more personal agenda of self-aggrandizement.   It gives them a sense of importance and purpose to be on the front lines of whatever cause is involved; however, they are more concerned with feeling good about themselves than in changing the world.

We have created an era over the last several decades of the “professional” protester and have even made celebrities of some who will always be on hand whenever there is a sign to be waived, a police line to crash, or a camera to march in front of for all the world to see.    I was not surprised to see some of these aging protesters at the “Occupy” events with their eclectic array of signs for the environment; against wealthy people or corporations or capitalism; against big government or big anything; and, of course, the classic stop the war signs although I am not sure and they may not even be sure if they are still protesting the Vietnam War or the current war.

I guess the real problem that I have with the so-called “professional” protester is that they will never be satisfied even if they did change the world.   There would always be something else that would absolutely require that they hit the streets and vent their displeasure with the state of the world.  They look for the injustice in every situation and if there is none they find injustice in the fact that no one is taking them seriously.

Sometimes, it is hard to fully comprehend the message or point of the protest such as my confusion as to what the “Occupy” protest is really meant to accomplish.   It seems to me that many times the goals of the protesters are so vague or amorphous that the message becomes lost in the movement which often takes on a life of its own without any real purpose.

When the “Occupy” movement runs its course and they change whatever it is they think they can change, I am sure that we will still be able to look forward to many more lively protests, in the years to come, about something or anything from our perpetually discontented fellow citizens.   I don’t particularly mind since protesting is as American as apple pie and, besides, I enjoy reading the signs.

Joe and Annemarie share their specific views on the ‘Occupy’ protests next week.