Occupy Your Country!

Occupy Wall Street

by Joshua on October 24, 2011

This weekend I made a quick trip from Maryland to Georgetown. As I trekked along K Street NW, I unexpectedly drove past the Occupy DC contingent camped out at McPherson Square. Only 3 blocks away from the White House, the place was jam packed with peaceful protesters and their tent homes. I’ll admit it, I was intrigued. I’ve been intrigued by the Occupy Together movements since I first heard of the Occupy Wall Street movement in September.

What began as a small protest has now morphed into a national – indeed a global – movement aimed at rethinking the fairness and sustainability of our economic system. Consider the following:

  • The richest 20% of all Americans control more than 85% of the country’s wealth. That leaves nearly a quarter-billion people fighting over only 15% of the country’s wealth.
  • Since 2007, Wall Street profits have increased by 720%. Meanwhile, unemployment is up 102% and home equity for all Americans has decreased by 35%.
  • Since 1980, the 10 biggest banks’ control of American bank assets has increased from 22% to 60%.
  • The New York Attorney General’s office has reported that “nine of the financial firms that were among the largest recipients of federal bailout money paid about 5,000 of their traders and bankers bonuses of more than $1 million apiece for 2008.”
  • Total lobbying spending has increased from $1.44 billion in 1998 to $3.51 billion in 2010.
  • 52 million Americans have no health insurance and 22% of our children live in poverty.

The numbers don’t look good and they’re getting worse. Could it be that the American people have had enough of the games being played in Washington? Could it be that people are finally fed up with a system that has been rigged to make a few ridiculously wealthy, while the majority of the people see their hope of the American dream fading?

For years Americans were lulled into a sense of security and entitlement by our unprecedented access to easy credit. However, the market is correcting itself. What looked like a bottomless well of easy credit is now drying up. Our credit has been rolled back and we can no longer just charge that new big screen tv or Caribbean cruise. Bankruptcy rules have been changed to hold borrowers accountable. Our homes have been foreclosed on in record numbers. Our fancy educations have bought us nothing more than a mountain of debt and, in far too many cases, a trip to the unemployment office.

Millions of Americans who once thought they were middle class have come to the harsh conclusion that they are nothing more than struggling members of the working poor. The frightening specter of living paycheck to paycheck looms over those who once thought they had it made. For those unable to find work, they are the new poor. The new poor is an ever increasing group of people who are educated, skilled, and have no place in an American economy that relies on American workers less and less each year.

Our factories have closed. Our opportunities have dried up. Our country has been led off course. What was once a booming and hopeful manufacturing nation has been reduced to a nation that depends on Wall Street trickery to create wealth. The financial industry, which does not design, build, or sell anything of substance is in complete control of our national economy.

Where do the people have to go for hope? We tried changing presidents. We were disappointed. We tried changing the Congress. Again, we were disappointed. There was no one left for us to turn to for help but ourselves. The American people have woken up. They are organizing themselves in support of themselves.

I don’t know where or how far this leaderless movement will go. I only know that when the American people speak with a unified voice, things tend to change rather quickly.

What starts as a flash mob can eventually become anything the people decide it should be…


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose Garriga October 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Thanks so much. This is very though provoking.


Joshua October 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Thanks Rose!


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