The Occupy movement has spread again. This time it has not marched into a new country or an unoccupied city, but rather into a new, much more uncertain territory: the national political rhetoric, where its presence marks success even if the movement's own words are used as politicians' pandering tools rather than as sincere promotions of change.
Since its beginnings this past autumn, the language of the Occupy movement has been assimilated into public conversations, with cries against the one percent heard anywhere from a college dining hall to an Internet meme.
Now, that same vernacular has occupied national political conversation. From President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address on Jan. 24 to republicans Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney throughout their debates and campaigns, politicians have adopted the rallying call of the "99 percent," making claims and promises surrounding economic inequality in this country.
This recently acquired foothold in political discourse is a significant marking of the movement's strength and influence in today's socio-political climate. The movement's language is as much an embodiment of its cause as visual symbols like the peace sign or the dove were for protests in the past. If its language cannot be ignored, that is an indication that its goals are similarly too pervasive to be disregarded.
After months of mostly silence on the matter, though, such a warm welcome from the political discussion is suspect at best. Whether or not the politicians do embrace the Occupy ideals on a political or even personal level, the fact that they decided to implement that language specifically and to do so amidst the current pre-election fervor implies that they are not doing so simply because they want in on the Occupy action.
Politicians know their audiences and know that, even for those who do not agree with Occupy in its entirety, the language is becoming iconic. It is easily recognizable and entices an immediate reaction in listeners – and politicians always want to garner a reaction. As such, to make themselves memorable they will associate themselves with something memorable.
Still, there is no such thing as bad publicity. True, at the moment, that publicity is more for the polls' benefit than the people, but at least the movement is no longer being overlooked within the political sphere and agenda. Actions start with thoughts and thoughts are formed from words. As long as Occupy's words gain prevalence within socio-political communities, there is always a chance that those words will herald tangible results.