I visited the protestors at Zuchotti Park again yesterday, and again thought what a unique sort of event or phenomenon it is –a lot of young people, but not only young, who were generally in a welcoming and positive mood.
Yes, they could be more focussed, could be articulating thoughts and goals that were sharper & better defined –in a way that made older folk like me feel they had a better chance of making their point, and –yes– of achieving it politically.
BUT –the one great virtue in evidence that was undeniable, was the fact that THEY WERE ACTUALLY THERE!!! They were out on the street, which is –sadly– a very unusual event these last few decades. Our culture is so passive, “sitting on the couch”, inactive,(often obese), uncommitted, diverted with a huge variety of meaningless –but profitable to some– pasttimes that being out on the street is already a huge committment.
These folks are angry. They feel let down — if not betrayed– by the structure that we have created, developed, keep going –that they have been born into.
At Zuchotti Park there are a lot of very bright young kids who –following their parents encouragement to study hard and get a good education and a marketable degree, with inherit the so-called American Dream, which –according to the resident myth– will ensure that they will do better, have it better, than their parents. Things would just get better and better for each succeeding generation.
Generally speaking, THIS IS A MYTH. This will not happen; has already begun to change.
The education these kids have gotten has been very expensive, and most of them have gone into debt –some to the extent of $200,000 or more. There are no jobs for these folks; they have to start paying back their loans straightaway –but with what? They have no jobs!
Things will NOT be better for them! They will be a lot worse –through no fault of their own, our fiscal crisis and recession and abiding rates of unemployment have changed our world.
Now, consider for a moment what the huge bailout of risky and deceptive banks looks like to such a young person!
The banks get bailed out; they DO NOT!
I see different versions of that simple logic on the signs down at Zuchotti Park: The Banks get bailed out for deceptive, risky and often criminal behavior, whereas I have played by the rules and get nothing (but a lot of insult & abuse on Fox+ )
The Tea Party folks were –it seems to me– from the next, older generation. Often, more comfortable. And –it seems to me– often more politically “harnessable” by the Limbaughs, Hannitys & Levins, and all the rest. It was a shrewd piece of political management.
My feeling is that the Tea Party people got their energy from Blaming Washington. I think the Occupy Wall Street protestors may be different. But they ARE angry! And we will see more of this anger –all over the nation, and all over the world. [The so called Arab Spring is just one sort of manifestation of this anger.]
Fairness and Justice and Equality are simple concepts, and easily grasped. We learn them in our family setting at a very early age. More than anything else, –except perhaps intelligence– compassion is what makes us human –and our world is in a compassionless-crisis.
[The idea for a new sign for Zuchotti Park has been forming in my mind for the last few days. I don’t quite have the words yet, but I have been searching for a metaphor that matches the situation.
The one I’ve got so-far is:
“America is trying to save the TOP ONE PER-cent of the TITANIC!”
Yes indeed, we ARE all in the same boat! Except Wall Street and Citibank and all the rest don’t seem to know it.
They think they’re in the lifeboat!