Today's post is a bit more serious in tone than most of mine. But given the state of the world's economy right now, I feel it has to be said.
If you haven't heard of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I'm not surprised. Most of the major media outlets (with the exception of Huffington Post, from what I have seen) did their best to ignore it for as long as possible. In fact, it wasn't until my daughter asked me what I thought about it that I heard of it at all.
And that is what amazes and worries me. It seems like neither liberals nor conservatives have wanted to acknowledge this group of (mostly young and discontent) voices saying, essentially, "We're unhappy with the status quo. We're tired of corporate greed ruining our future. We want change." It frightens me because it makes clear how both political ends of the media are controlled by their special interest groups.
Looking at our current financial crisis, it's hard not to acknowledge that much of it began with problems with banks, mortgages, and investments gone awry -- throughout the world. The moneymakers did things to create personal wealth that hit a particular group hard: the middle class. Things seem to be getting worse by the month, while much of the middle class disappears. Average people are angry and want a voice. Republicans and Democrats in Washington spend more time perfecting their spitting contests and preserving their party alliances than in creating real change.
Young people are the ones who traditionally have the energy and idealism to embody a new voice. These disenchanted (mostly young) individuals are attempting something I think all of us should find heartening. In the tradition of Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry, they are raising their voices to say, "We're not sure exactly what we want yet, but we know we don't want more of the same." To my mind, this uprising, growing despite being ignored by the major media outlets and misunderstood by many Americans, hearkens back to the French Revolution, where the voices of the many grew in desperation to outweigh the few in the ruling class.
Every July 4th we praise our forefathers -- people who rose up against the status quo and bravely fought for a better system. Let's remember to be open-minded towards the new firebrands and consider that true change sometimes happens, not from the top down, but from the grassroots. However this works out for the Occupy Wall Street group, I applaud them for doing something rather than nothing, and so far at least, doing it in a peaceful manner.