Last week my friend Tim was telling me how our economic inequality and the hoarding of wealth by the country’s wealthiest elite reminds him of medieval legends of dragons sitting on their piles of gold. Outside the dragon’s lair, villagers are tormented and starving, while inside all these resources are just sitting there unused. In the case of St. George it was water (not riches) that the village needed, but the dragon had to be bought off before they could get at it. Whatever the case, it was the many against one, and yet they just kept at it—succumbing to the extortion—even when the dragon raised the ante and they had to start sacrificing women (ie. their futures) to get what they needed to survive for that one day.
Occupy Wall Street is about a lot of things, and that’s a difficult thing for some people to wrap their heads around because we’ve been suckled and fattened on a diet of empty-calorie soundbites. But OWS is still in it’s nascent stages, without a polished manifesto or even a bullet-pointed PowerPoint presentation that we can sink our teeth into.
Eventually OWS might evolve to a stage where the message becomes organized and explicate, with clearly stated solutions for corresponding problems.
Or maybe not. Maybe the whole point is to wake people up. Maybe the victory is the fact that OWS has gotten people to realize apathy and complacency in the face of oppression is not the American way. Maybe now a new movement will spring from that victory.
Whatever the case, at this point, no one has the gall to document an official mission (although there is an unofficial one) because if there’s one thing that OWS can agree on is that it’s about “we,” and it’s tough to find a conference table big enough to seat 99% of the entire country so we can come to a consensus. And although it took a while, OWS finally got our attention and that’s a very big first step.
So, while I certainly wouldn’t speak for OWS, I have no problem telling you what Occupy Unserville is about, and you can like it, lump, or tell me to stuff it in my pipe and smoke it.
For decades now we have been sliding further and further into an abyss of social and economic injustice that has been a slow burn on an ever-increasing population of Americans. The melting pot that once defined America has become a boiling pot, and the people who are turning up the heat on us did it gradually, hoping that we wouldn’t realize that we were being cooked for their consumption.
This is key to understanding the problem: As power begets power it will eventually reach a critical mass in which there is no longer a mechanism in place to ensure the well-being of people. Instead the only mechanism that exists is to ensure increasing power of the powerful.
Look, we know that lobbyists have an unfair advantage influencing our representatives. Corporations are well-defined institutions with explicate missions to increase their profits. Because they have that clear focus, they can hire those lobbyists to ensure that the mission is fulfilled. Their simplicity is a major tactic advantage.
Because life—being a person, which (despite what the American legal system might reflect) corporations are not—is complicated. In fact, we’re infinitely complicated. Our mission is to love, and create, and be happy, and be healthy, and have kids, and not have kids, and contribute to society, and find a partner, and not find a partner, and travel the world, and breath fresh air, and eat good food, and help the rest of the world, and on and on. We can’t have lobbyists for all that stuff. And even though some of that stuff is our inalienable right, a good lobbyist can get a legislator to forgo all of it so that the mission of a corporation is realized, because that lobbyist has that legislator’s ear and we don’t.
Then we should all just work for a corporation and we’ll be fine, right? Nope.
Because even if you’re working for a corporation that’s making ever-increasing profits that sure as hell doesn’t mean its employees are doing well, because as we should all know by know the big money is only going to the top.
And what if you’re dreams and passions in life don’t jibe with a corporate mission. What if your calling is to be a teacher, a nurse, a writer, a cop, an artist, a musician, or an architect? Your interests will not be represented. Your interests and the ability to even achieve those goals will be buried so that the corporations who have a regular audience with legislators can get what they want.
Why would legislators support what the lobbyists tell them? First because lobbyists are the only people legislators ever hear from and second because they can get very rich that way.
But aren’t there regulations against that sort of thing? No, because a major element in the platform of many legislators today is to do away with all regulations, despite the fact that deregulation was a major cause of the financial crises that we’re experiencing today.
Why do we buy that bullshit? Because they tell us that regulations destroy our jobs, but the truth is regulations do not slow job growth. In fact, the people who actually do create jobs support regulation. The bottom line is the only reason they want deregulation is so they can bleed the rest of us dry.
The job-killer rhetoric should sound familiar because the power elite also use it against any effort to curb their gluttonous, soul crushing greed. If we try to work toward economic justice by correcting the devestating inequality, then we’re hurting the job creators (ie. rich people). But you know what. They aren’t job creators. That one percent … they’re not putting anyone to work. They’re income is passive. They’re getting rich off of being rich. All the rich are doing is getting richer. They’re hoarding like that dragon. And they’re killing America in the process.
The problem isn’t that we’re broke. There’s crazy money in this country. The problem is that none of that extraordinary wealth is going toward making us all stronger, smarter, more innovative, and better as a whole. In fact, it’s doing just the opposite. It’s dragging us down and suppressing the great things that we as Americans have the ability to achieve.
Occupy Unserville is about putting an end to that. It’s about putting the power back into the hands of the people who can innovate, invent, create, and foster real progressive change that will make this world a better place. Not just for an elite few, but for us all. (And if you’re not sure how to go about doing that have a gander at the previous posts and the posts to come.)
It’s time we all stop being victims, follow the example of St. George, stand up, take matters into our own hands, and slay that damn dragon.