When these young, optimistic, energized folks first sought to bring attention to the unfairness between the haves and have-nots, it was the talk of the world. But they never became the media darlings that was their right, only a prickly thorn in the side of righteous middle class – those who firmly believed a person could pull themselves up by their bootstraps. If only they tried. See the media is composed of average people, who, through a combination of looks, charisma, and connections were able to catapult themselves into lifestyle that protected them from the gritty headlines they produced. If they gave these young warriors too much attention – pouf! gone are the sensible investments in place to ease their departure from the limelight. Change would Happen. No, not too smart to listen carefully to their complaints; just move along folks…let’s take a look at the next sensational headline…The solidly working class folks looked up from their grindstones and a brief glimmer of hope shone in their eyes, then they put their heads down and plowed on, not believing they had a bone in this particular fight. After all, the working class knew all along the game was rigged. So what happened to these young warriors?
For the most part, they are still there. Some are fighting smarter – taking the skirmishes to boardrooms, or boycotting particularly devious corporations. They’ve used the electronic media to get the word out, and there’s a website you can visit to see what they’re up to. Some have fallen by the wayside. When your own country views you has a criminal, take the well-traveled road – shave, clean up your act, put on some khakis and a tie and pray your picture never made higher than the “continued from page 1” columns. It’s probably why the movement has been slow to take hold with groups who can/are easily singled out for retribution: ethnic or religious groups, women, etc. But slowly, even these groups are understanding that simply standing by won’t guarantee them a job or any sense of stability.
What was the war all about? It pretty much was a wake-up call that the rich are getting richer, and the rich are putting policies in place that will ensure that the arrow always points up on their powerpoint presentations. If you were working class, making a living (albeit barely), then you didn’t pay too close attention. If you’re working class, and have lost your job, while you’re in the unemployment line, you can muse on what policy or boardroom decision led to you no longer being able to feed your family. If you were middle class, you felt like you had educated or worked yourself out of the smog of futility. But it requires the income of two to afford the comforts of the good life – health insurance, vacations, the latest gadgetry, children – while bravely facing down the education debt mountain.
But Occupy Wall Street isn’t over yet. It’s initial run has been lead by the most unlikely group to have a complaint: young, white, employed, future on lockdown. So forgive the unemployed, working class, barely surviving citizenry that didn’t get too worked up about it at first: they allowed their eyes to deceive their ears. If they had closed their eyes and listened, they would have heard the cry of a sister, brother, mother, or father who spoke out against the machine. As the members of this class get squeezed harder and harder, they are speaking out against stagnant wages, unfair labor practices, and legalized slavery. The scales are falling from their eyes and they see OWS for what is truly is.
“We are the 99%”. That tagline refers to anyone who can’t walk out their front door and board a private jet to destination anywhere. Up and down the income scale, you find deluded persons who believe their 6-figure salaries or potentially hot start-ups insulate them from the vagaries of life lived on someone else’s terms. So they don’t think of themselves as the “99%”, but as fortunate bystanders who deep down inside give themselves more credit for their success than chance, fate, or God. These are the people who hire the people who try to sell us palliatives for a pain that is deep within our psyche. These are the people who gamble that their faithfulness to the “job creators” will result in future security for their offspring and themselves. Anything to deny that they are in fact one of the 99%. And just like there is infighting between brothers of a family; the folks on the high end of the 99% are the hardest scrappers against the folks on the low end of the 99%. And like parents, the 1% stay out of the fray, only stepping in when the fighting could seriously damage one or the other. Because that would lead to anarchy.
Keeping your head down won’t protect you. Stand up. Acknowledge that you are one of the 99%. Find out what you can do. If the very least you can do is that you won’t continue to enrich the very folks that strive to keep you penniless, then you’ve made a giant step to remove yourself from their clutches. Educate and know yourself. Spend time thinking, and move away from what ever takes away your focus. Own yourself. Don’t be used to further someone else’s goals. Don’t think for a minute that renting a toy of the elite makes you one of them – it doesn’t. Get out of the business of enriching others.