Sure, some protesters are just that: professional protesters and students with no jobs and nothing better to do. But do you really think THAT MANY people would come out for no reason?
The problem is on Wall Street AND the problem stems from Federal policy. The American elite has never been so removed from the rules of ordinary citizens.
I worked my way through college, working 40 hour weeks and got a Bachelors a few years ago. I have worked two and three jobs simultaneously, full-time, contract, left the state, moved to areas I didn't really want to go to get by. The fact is that I and MANY others in this generation work, and work hard. We don't take the time we should to go out and get involved in politics and social issues. We're busy and we're tired, so we just let our frustration build... well now its boiling over.
We worked hard to get degrees, and now we are drowning in Federal-controlled loans. The cost of education has risen disproportionately with wages (which I might add get garnished if you don't pay, reducing many to less than living wages...). The cost of housing when I bought mine was more than double what my parents paid ten years earlier, and 500 ft smaller. My wages are low, my job prospects are fought for against tough competition, my taxes increase every year...
And so many others I know-- smart people-- 3.8 GPA, part-time work through college... aren't willing or can't move like I did to scratch by. They can't find work. Not because they aren't willing, but because of the pressures (many stemming from Federal policy) that have driven hiring into nothing. I work for a small business-- we are afraid to hire. Big business is afraid to hire (hire contract at best!). The country is in a state of limbo waiting to see what is going to happen with the economy, and its like everyone has stilled to slow motion waiting for the ball to drop.
I've never gone out to a protest in my life, in fact I've always been a little on the conservative side. This time though, I think people like me--- NORMAL, HARDWORKING young people are coming out and joining in this protest. We are saying that we didn't make these policies, we didn't have a say in this. We didn't allow the banks and large corporations to reach this level of corruption over the past decades (and again I agree with many that say this stemmed from federal involvement in corporations).
The fact is though, we didn't make this bed. It's only been in recent years that we've been able to vote, to speak and be heard in policy (and even still we're young enough to be sneered at when we stand up at commissioners meetings!--and that's only the local level). Its not just the young though, its also the displaced workers, those that are willing to work at all ages and can't, or can't unless they are willing to leave their homes and families behind!
This generation of young professionals is weighted with more debt, a higher cost of living, and very few promises that the future will be brighter. Those in mid-career are losing the potential to build up for retirement and provide for their own children.
Its not just the 'hippy' protesters this time. I believe that many young adults--many professionals, college grads, recently separated military members, displaced workers who are desperately seeking new training--are hearing the message that this is sending, and we are responding.
We are frustrated that we spend our time working overtime just to get by, and that things are getting worse. We are frustrated that so many of our worthy hardworking friends have lost houses and jobs, delayed having families, been forced to move away from their families.
We care about the political and corporate situation in America, and we care about what policy made by those 2, 3, 4 decades older than us-- or simply those with more connections--are doing. Is anybody really looking at the long run? Are corporate America or our Federal (or state/local for that matter) representatives really out to serve the long run, our are CEOs and politicians in it for their term's haul?
Its time that this generation stood up, and took the time to voice our concerns-- even when its not easy to squeeze the time between work, and freelance work on the side to make ends meet. We need to be heard, we are invested in the coming half-century or more. WE will feel the ongoing ripples of today's financial and economic crisis long after our current representatives and the current CEOs of these corporations have retired to their beach homes.
This is an outpouring of frustration. We feel like we aren't being heard or served. Is it a shock that the protests are growing exponentially? I for one am willing to come out for this, and I've never protested before--and I'm not alone. I'm so frustrated its all about to boil over.
I'm not saying I share all the opinions of this group-- in fact, thats part of the group's strength and purpose: it conveys many concerns and beliefs that are UNHEARD, UNREPRESENTED, and UNSERVED. I think that I-- and they-- deserve to be heard. In fact, our country was founded with that as one of its core principles.
If nothing else, I am happy to see people in my basic demographic standing united and finding a voice--finally.
That being said, the 'leadership' in Wilmington should have said just that, that this is about a huge segment of the population being underrepresented. Its not about the rich vs the poor. Its about the American elite being able to use and brutalize the system with complete disregard for the long-term good of our society.
It's about those that have used the system being rewarded-- or at minimum relieved from the consequence of their own negligence-- and those that are blameless (in the case of the younger generation of adults, those who didn't even have a say when this downhill slide started) being forced to foot the bill for decades to come, probably to rest of our lives.
I know others may have other opinions, but, as I said, I for one am glad to see someone voicing this mounting frustration that I know many of us are feeling.
More information about formatting options