First Person: Why I Both Applaud and Abhor the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Occupy Wall Street is making news again. The Associated Press reports GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has called his opponent Mitt Romney an “Occupy Wall Street adherent” because of his new tax plan that supposedly favors the wealthy.

The movement started Sept. 17 and has been protesting wealth and greed ever since. Occupy Wall Street has been used in politics before and now it has become a talking point ahead of two key primary elections in the GOP field.

I’ve had varying degrees of feelings for the Occupy Wall Street protests. I understand that they are upset with large corporations and people who make a lot of money, seemingly without a second thought to those who need money more. I also understand that there is a huge disparity between the ultra-rich and the impoverished in America. The economic recession in 2008 only added to those tensions.

Protesting something peaceably is an American right. So is the right to make money. That clash is what is being borne out in our quasi-free market system. The people without the money are mad at the people with the money. The same thing happened as 1776 approached. Colonists were sick of paying taxes to King George III, perhaps the single wealthiest man on the planet at the time. He was already rich, so why would America give him any more money?

The Occupy Wall Street movement is trying to whip up a fervor similar to the American Revolution. That’s simply the American way and I applaud the protesters for what they are doing.

On the other hand, just because the Occupy Wall Street movement exists it doesn’t mean that wealth and money will go away. The fact of the matter is that money is a very basic part of our modern society. There’s a minimum wage, a poverty level, income taxes, consumer-based economics and banks on every corner. There is little Americans can do right now to change an economic system based upon spending money.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters have to eat sometime. In our post-industrialist society, their food likely comes from some producer that makes money when consumers buy the product. I doubt the Occupiers grow their own food on the land upon which they are camping.

Sometimes I just want to smack my own forehead at the protesters. If they had put this much energy and passion into a job or career, perhaps some members of the Occupy movement wouldn’t be griping so much about money. Making and spending cash is a part of our modern society and that’s not going to change for a long time, if at all.

I understand the Occupy Wall Street movement on its basic level. However, I hope they someday realize that the system they are wanting to change won’t go away in their lifetimes or even their grandchildren’s lifetimes.

The main reason I abhor the Occupy Wall Street movement is because in this great country of ours, that type of movement shouldn’t have to exist in the first place. This is the greatest country on earth and we should be able to take care of our most vulnerable citizens.

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