After years of gaming the system, avaricious capitalist took this country, the poor and working class for a ride down the road to catastrophe, while those on Wall Street were not affected. Those folks continue to prosper when perhaps jail time for fraud would have been more appropriate. However, ordinary Americans have lost their retirement savings. They have lost their jobs, and mid-life careers have been cut short. Many older Americans will never see a paycheck again. They continue to lose their homes forcing many and their families to live on the street. At the same time essentials like healthcare, food, and the cost of heating oil and gasoline continue to rise. They see government bailout Wall Street — the very folks who have profited on the backs of hard-working people and responsible for their downfall — yet not lend a helping hand to ordinary Americans. Ordinary Americans are told that they “are of less worth than others, or less necessary to the common good.” At least that’s the message of the Republican Party and their presidential candidates.
So it’s understandable why ordinary Americans are frustrated and fuming. It’s very clear what has fostered the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Thus it’s astonishing that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” He says the Occupy Wall Street protesters are un-American and anti-capitalist.
It’s incomprehensible that republicans don’t understand why protesters are blaming Wall Street. Why question Occupy Wall Street’s purpose, when its purpose is so obvious to ordinary Americans who have lost their savings, their jobs, and their homes and now have nowhere to turn for assistance.
Cain says he believes that everyone can achieve the “American Dream.” The “Dream” means creating individual wealth. Cain knows perfectly well that everyone cannot achieve that “Dream.” If we were to have a world of millionaires and billionaires, who would do the hard work that would make all of us wealthy. I doubt that Cain or republicans really want to make all of us wealthy, for it’s folks like Cain and Wall Street types whose wealth they use to control and coerce ordinary Americans.
The Occupy Wall Street movement declares that democracy is not attainable when the process is determined by economic power. That corporations place profit over people, self-interest over justice, oppression over equality, and run our governments. There should be no ambiguity of Occupy Wall Street’s purpose and goal: to end corporatism and oligarchy that has placed ordinary Americans’ wellbeing at considerable risk.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began on September 17 with the occupation of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Since then there have been major demonstrations all over the world. Violence erupted in Rome, and on October 16, a multitude of protesters infiltrated New York’s Time Square where protesters were met with police officers on foot, bike, and horseback and violence erupted as police confronted protesters.
The causes are not all that different from those that fueled the Arab Spring. In America, it won’t take much to ignite that same violence and anarchy either. The potential is there. It is imperative that government change the way ordinary Americans are treated and the way corporations conduct their businesses. Necessary steps must be taken to eliminate corporatism and oligarchy. For those of us who are ordinary Americans, our national leaders need to gain an appreciation that we are as worthy and as necessary to the common good as much as corporations and wealthy Americans.
However at the end of the day, perhaps Martin Luther King was right. Chris Hedges, one of those Times Square protesters on Saturday, in his article A Movement Too Big to Fail quotes King: “For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change there,” King said shortly before he was assassinated. “Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values.”
Chris Hedges, A Movement Too Big to Fail, Truthdigg
James Carroll, Youth pushed to the edge, The Boston Globe