Thursday, October 6, 2011

"We the People" vs. Wall Street

"Occupy Wall Street Movement"

Liberty Square, New York City

Photo: Joy Malone Photography
"I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama Administration. Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks,If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." - Herman Cain, Republican US Presidential Candidate

Wednesday evening I took a quick trip through lower Manhattan to "Liberty Square" to join the protestors of the "Occupy Wall Street Movement." I will admit, behind closed doors I've been extremely critical of this movement. My main concerns about this movement were the unclear message and expectations of the protestors. Watching the news, we get a slight glimpse of the signs and they seem to indicate that the demands of the protestors and this movement are unrealistic. Who are these people who've decided to voluntarily sleep on the streets of Lower Manhattan and what exactly is their purpose for doing so? Were these the people who voted for "hope and change" in 2008 or were they supporters of the "Country First" team of McCain and Palin? Did these young people vote in the 2010 midterm elections or were they so disgruntled by the current administration that they stayed home? Or are these jobless Americans who've had the last straw and are at their wit's end?

As I stood in Liberty Square, I bumped into Laura Flanders of GritTV prior to her appearance on MSNBC that evening. I used the moment to get her take on the situation and what she thinks the outcome of these protests would be.

"This space is an opening for a conversation to take place and help people understand what's really going on here." - Laura Flanders, Free Speech TV

I spoke with three individuals who choose to remain anonymous but engaged in very candid conversations with me and gave me their thoughts. I asked them "why were they here and what expectations do they have for this movement?" One gentleman I spoke with eloquently stated that the current system we have in place is wrong. It's eating us alive and eventually it will eat the top 1%. Essentially we have millionaires in the US Congress who are not making decisions in the best interest of the people, but in the best interest of themselves. Another gentleman I spoke with simply stated, "we need equality, we need a level playing field for all." The protestors consider Liberty Square a small community of people sharing a common interest. They are sharing a space, meals and a passion of patriotism and love for their country. These people genuinely want to see America succeed and they want to see everyone do well financially.

Nothing is more indicative of this than a recent list by Forbes Magazines ranking "America's Most Dangerous Cities," in order. The team actually discussed this list yesterday and we were able to directly connect this list to the economy and unemployment rates across the country. The State of Michigan has an unemployment rate of 11.2%, placing it in the top 3 states for the highest rate. The national rate is 9.1%. High unemployment equates to crime. If we see this, why can't politicians see this. Its all fun and games until the shit spills over into their backyards. Right now they think they are immune and they think their backyards are shit proof.

Last night, as I read the signs and talked to people in Liberty Square, I started to feel frustrated myself. I can't believe that it has come to this breaking point. I can't believe that the people we've elected to represent us and make decisions on our behalf have FAILED us. I can't believe that we have a candidate running for President of the United States of America and he felt it appropriate to make such an insensitive statement regarding wealth and unemployment. This is America and this shouldn't be so. I hope this movement can make some type of difference. America must do better than this.

"We the People"

I would like to commend these brave individuals for stepping forward and letting their voices be heard. I can't say that I would have the courage to do what they are doing. My hope is their mission becomes clearly defined to all and we truly begin to engage in dialogue that eliminates party lines, race, gender or socioeconomics. Our nation is only as strong as its weakest link.

What are your thoughts on the "Occupy Wall Street Movement" and its sister movements across the country?

Will the "Occupy Wall Street Movement" cause any changes in our nation?
Who are the real victims of the economics crisis?
How can we combat the rationale given by Herman Cain?

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