This has been a most interesting week for Columbia politics.
A few days ago, I wrote a column for my InkandVoice blog asking, "Where have all the liberal voices gone?"
Some of the respondents suggested they went the way of the Internet. Some said that the protesters of the '60s and '70s, the baby boomers, are the ones sitting in the ivory towers of Wall Street.
My young friend Neil said, "They're getting old and most have sold out."
My contemporary, Howard, suggested that "perhaps we are very busy with work, kids, grandkids and older family members who need our help."
But here in Columbia, the voices are starting to roar. Columbia has OccupyCoMo, complete with its Facebook page and a presence on the corner of Broadway and Seventh Street, across the street from Landmark and Boone County National banks.
I sat down with de facto representatives Ariel Seara, Willy Maxwell, Bill Dessenberger and a young woman who refused to give her name, so I called her "Jef," to learn more. To best describe the organizational premise, one must return to OccupyWallSt.org.
"Occupy Wall Street is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America. We use a tool known as a people's assembly to facilitate open, participatory and horizontal organizing between members of the public."
To call the occupy groups unpatriotic or un-American is simply wrong. The route Occupy Wall Street, OccupyCoMo and others are taking is no different than the Tea Party movement in Columbia or anywhere else.
The local core group of about 20, along with the national movement, has one commonality: They are tired of being ignored.
They are tired of the undue influence of multi-national corporations over Congress, what one Occupy supporting site calls "corporatocracy."
Yes, their complaints extend to the ever grouping social-economic abyss, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lack of jobs and the financial institutions that control the American people. Ariel assured me, however, that this did not include Landmark or Boone County National banks.
Yet these seem to be symptoms of the bigger issue — the current state of the American people and the lack of elected officials who do anything positive.
As a national "organization," this movement is still young and has not found its voice or that natural spokesman or spokeswoman to represent the collective interests of the people. It took a while for the Civil Rights Movement to find the Rev. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael.
Then there are those in Columbia who are massing for a recall of conservative Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley and a boycott of Atkins Corp., of which Dudley is part owner.
These homeowners, businessmen and businesswomen believe that Mr. Dudley is supporting a redistricting plan that takes his opposition out of the ward by means of gerrymandering the new district.
Our friend Mike Martin is distributing the group's position through his blog, The Columbia Heart Beat, and emails.
Those calling for Dudley's ouster are also upset that their elected city representative is not listening to them.
There are two (three if you include the modification of Trial D) reapportionment plans being considered. Martin said Trial D appears to "cost central city neighborhoods in the Third and Fourth wards their representation on the Columbia City Council and dilute votes from African-Americans in the First Ward." Of course Dudley reportedly believes this is nonsense.
The majority of the complainants believe that Trial E, which keeps the Fourth Ward basically intact and extends the First Ward westward, is the better selection.
The Ward Reapportionment Committee supports Trial E. Terry Smith, a member of the committee, told ABC17 News that Trial E is the most logical of the plans put forth.
Why are these two groups so similar? Because each has learned how to roar, to make noise and bring problems concerning the people to light.
Both are receiving their fair share of news coverage, and both are receiving support from a larger base of frustrated citizens and small business owners who are tired of not being heard and having their voices drowned out by multi-national corporations.
Are these the voices I thought were lost? Most likely.
This is the way political movements start — from a few squeaking wheels to disorganized rallies to a sustained roar.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of his commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.