There’s nothing radical about going to work every day.
Of course, that presupposes that you have a job to go to. An increasing number of us do not. For me, that’s the whole point of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
People are not radical – especially as we get older and take on more responsibilities. That’s just the way it is. It’s hard to imagine carrying a sign, chanting slogans, and risking arrest when we are busily running as fast as we can to keep that hamster wheel spinning.
JP Morgan Chase doesn’t care if the social fabric of the country is disintegrating; your mortgage payment is due on the 1ST. Your boss expects you to keep your focus on the bottom line. Your children need things that you must provide.
Who has time to protest?
We are overworked, overwhelmed, and scared to death of falling off the wheel.
We leave the risk-taking to the young. They have nothing better to do, right?
It’s okay to admit it. Most of us are not cut out to be heroes. It’s easier to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the few while we try to make our own way. Unemployment is just a number to those who are employed – it holds no more importance than a batting average or a Neilson rating. We hear the number, we shrug, and we move on.
For years, there has been a whittling away of the social safety net. It’s a net whose first strings were strung when the country was at its fiscal worst. We learned what can happen when the economy goes to Hell, so we took steps to avoid a repeat in the future.
Then it happened. The rich began to feel that they weren’t rich enough. They used their wealth to game the system. Too many politicians have a price, and Wall Street was able to meet it. How else can one explain the repeal of laws that were enacted to keep the greed of bankers in check? It’s commonly believed that banks took too many risks which led us into a recession. Bullshit.
There was no risk involved in what they did – at least not to them. They were golden from the start. It was an ingenious plan:
- Lie, cheat, and steal from investors as you package bogus mortgages and sell them as if they were bonds.
- Get the ratings agencies to bless your offerings with AAA ratings and collude with insurance companies to cover your butt when the crap hit the fan.
- Call in your markers with all of those politicians that you “carry in their pockets like so many nickels and dimes,” by lobbying for and getting huge bailouts. (Apologies to The Godfather.)
- Gouge consumers, toss them from their homes by the millions, hoard cash, and continue to devise new schemes for ripping people off.
Do we really need more reasons to be angry before we actually do something about it?
I’m not headed to downtown Manhattan today. I’m not proud of that, but there are other things that we can do to support the activists and it begins by paying attention.
There are no excuses for being uninformed. Even the media is slowly recognizing the movement. There’s something happening here. You don’t have to go to Liberty Square yourself, but you can Tweet it, blog it, or spread the word with some good old-fashioned talking.
My thoughts are with the activists and my check is in the mail.
They are fighting the good fight. If they are successful, society will benefit. If they are bullied into submission, or starved out from lack of support, each of us who chooses to stay on the sidelines will own a part of the blame.