Practical Dad

Occupy Wall Street:  What Do They Want?

The media question right now is what does "Occupy Wall Street" really want?  The media visiting see all manner of signs and wonder what the protestors want; what are the demands?  They're belittled by many pundits such as Hannity and Coulter, who stated that they need to get a job, take a shower and move on.  What truly motivates them apart from envy of what the successful have accomplished?  My own mother - a solid Fox News viewer - stated her dislike of them and was taken aback when I not only tried to explain the movement, but actually vented on her. 

What's driving this?  Let me paraphrase my vent.

After a decades long binge, the occupants of neighborhood America are awakening to find that their vicinity has been trashed.  A potent mix of 'shroom and grain laced Kool Aid was prepared and handed out and many drank, some much more than others.  The music was crashingly loud and the lyrics were slick:  You can have it all; You have to do what's right for you; more is better and there's no reason that you should feel bad; Don't worry, someone else will fix it.  In the course of this national debauch, we neglected our infrastructure, spent our money on the crap that was peddled to us - hell, we made a folk hero out of a chamois pimp - and let the most selfish of us take over the city council.  Put simply, we've had front row seats to the financial equivalent of the sacking of Rome.

Our youngsters - whom we've cumulatively permitted to electronically anesthetize themselves because we were too stoned on the punch to care - are finally waking up and coming out to take their place in the neighborhood to find that the shutters are off, the roofs are holed, the street lights are burnt out and the sewage system is backing up.  If you think that "electronically anesthetized" is a poor choice, consider this.  There are 168 hours in each week and the teens are in school for about 40 hours weekly during the school year, or about 24% of their week.  The average teen also sleeps an average of 7 hours nightly - too little for their bodies - for 49 hours weekly, about 29%.  The average teen spends 50 hours weekly tied into some electronic device - television, computer, etc - for another 29% but an hour more plugged in than is spent sleeping.  This is time that's not spent learning about the reality of the real world around them and when suddenly thrown into it after years of false messaging, the cognitive dissonance is overwhelming.  It's something out of The Matrix as these kids are left trying to reconcile what they've heard with what they have to contend. 

The economics solidly support the notion that a college degree is necessary for a better future as incomes exceed those of high school graduates and they're aware of this.  But the debt incurred to obtain the degree can never be discharged and they're saddled with it; they'll work multiple jobs, without benefits, to help pay the debt.  While the real, flesh and blood entities are held to account, the fictitious legal entities, the corporations, are given all manner of assistance to help cover for their mistakes.  There are no consequences for horrendous decisions and practices and the corporate leadership still manages to receive the benefits for whatever they do both right and wrong - socialize the losses and privatize the gains.  Yet these leaders have actively pursued practices that have sent the jobs overseas, living wage jobs that are desperately needed by the new generation to help remove the load and permit them to start a decent life.  In this new economic world that's been created, there are certainly jobs but these are and will continue to such positions as baristas and desk clerks.  The factory and lathe jobs?  These went to China with the factory equipment.  The kids are awakening to find that what they've been told and touted is pure rubbish.  In their thinking, and I agree, they'll be held to task for their debts while the corporate and financial leaders will continue to be coddled and protected for their actions and inactions.  They expect no assistance from the elected officials since many are in the pockets of the contributors who've financed their (re)elections and helped to maintain a privileged lifestyle in which they aren't required to participate in the same systems - health insurance, for instance - as the rest of us.  What else is there to do but to take to the streets, as did some of their forebears? 

Given how many of these youngsters are already working multiple part-time jobs to somehow cobble together a life that ultimately frees them from what is essentially debt serfdom, I don't believe the assertion that they're unwilling to work.  I hear the increasing attacks on them coming from conservative commentators and candidates, such as Herman Cain, and for the first time truly believe that a class war is now being fully engaged.  These youngsters are now pushing back and it's becoming apparent by both the verbal attacks and police mace attacks on young women that the established order doesn't like it.  What these folks have to consider is that these protestors have parents, whom Nixon would have referred to as the great Silent Majority, and that we aren't going to sit back and let our children be abused by the Powers That Be.

If my children should decide to join this effort, then I'm likely to join them.

 

 

 

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