Visionaries and thinkers needed in Occupy movement

Too many of our countryâÄôs leaders seem to be missing in action as fall turns to winter and the Occupy movements carry on. 

Our leaders should be involved in the movement, yet we have not seen them in action.

Abraham Lincoln would have gotten involved with the movement. It was Lincoln who said, âÄúThis country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it.âÄù

The Occupy movement is reminiscent of this wise counsel from Abraham Lincoln. I believe patriotic citizens should feel a moral obligation to support this effort.

Great thinkers and leaders of past movements would participate in this movement if they could. What would Paul Wellstone do?

As we recently marked the ninth anniversary of the plane crash that took our great senator, I find myself speculating on what WellstoneâÄôs role would have been in the Occupy movement. It would have been Wellstone, a former professor, who would have been out there on the front lines of this struggle. He would have been speaking, organizing and educating, bringing a respectful and thoughtful voice to the movement.

Inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the younger activists, IâÄôm sure Wellstone would have tried to bring his wisdom and experience to the movement to help it focus and articulate specific, realistic policy demands. He would have done the right thing by getting involved.

The elder, wise and experienced thinkers, the clergy and elected officials should be rallying around this effort, offering wisdom and vision to young activists.

Why arenâÄôt these inspirational leaders involved in the movement the way so many have been involved in movements before?

Visionaries, thinkers and leaders of justice movements in the past âÄî the likes of Eugene McCarthy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Herbert Marcuse and the University of MinnesotaâÄôs own Mulford Q. Sibley âÄî were active and articulate in their support and vision for societyâÄôs crusade toward a better, peaceful and more equal society.

I am not seeing the mark of leaders like these on this movement. The Occupy movement suffers from a void of experienced visionaries of our time.

Our leaders, intellectual and otherwise, are failing not just the young people out in the streets fighting this important battle for justice, but the majority âÄî the âÄú99 percentâÄù âÄî of Americans who are struggling for an education or desperate for a job with a living wage.

The silence is deafening.

So many of our nationâÄôs lawmakers, and those who contribute heavily to their campaigns, are deeply invested in banking, defense and oil interests. Their decisions are influenced not by what is good for America and its people, but by their slavish and immoral obligation to the power of these interests.

Many of our leaders, those in politics as well as the intellectual community, are so fed into this greed and quest for immediate gain that they can no longer see right from wrong. For most people, the American dream is now just a term from the history books.

Perhaps our entire country has lost its moral compass, but the people I see rallying and occupying for economic justice have planted a seed of hope in me âÄî the possibility of an American renaissance.

ItâÄôs time for our leaders and great thinkers to occupy this debate and make a difference.