Oh man. As Bob Dylan once said, "The times, they are a-changin'"--and oh glory was he correct (or at least I hope so!). This past Friday night (did "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry just come into your head? Because it just popped into mine which annoys me because that song is NOT at all related to what I did with my Friday evening) I went to downtown Hartford to stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Protesters. If you don't know about Occupy Wall Street, basically it is all of these protesters that are taking a stand to protest the class divide between the rich and the poor. The divide has grown wider and wider in the past few years, and people are finally saying ENOUGH. And here's the thing; I'm not protesting the fact that people have worked hard and have a lot of money. I'm not disputing that at all. But what I am disputing is that we somehow equate a person making $8 an hour at Target with not working as hard as Lady Gaga who made an estimated 90 million dollars last year (for an interesting article click here). We somehow believe that certain people deserve certain things, and others do not. But what we ALL deserve as human beings is equal access to resources (healthcare anyone?!). I'm not saying that I have any solutions right now, but it seems to me that in a country as rich as ours, the haves should be taking care of the have nots a whole lot more than we are. Basically, the top 10 percent have more wealth than the bottom 90 COMBINED. Like seriously--WHO NEEDS THAT MUCH MONEY?! *NEED being the operative words, not "want"--but we live in the country of excess, so...yeah. My brother told me that if Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) took just ONE of his ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS, he could give each of his Apple employees TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH. I keep praying he left money to his employees, because seriously, how tremendous would that be? It would be too beautiful, because you think of just how hard they work to scrape by (and let me tell you, I have received WONDERFUL service at Apple--they have helped contribute to those billions of dollars!). OK end rant. Anyways, the point is that the top 1 percent control most of the $$$ in this country. The divide is just too big, and it's not because people are lazy or don't work hard enough or all the excuses that the elite try to get the "have nots" to believe about themselves as if they earned their societal position (bull $h!@). There are bigger forces at work here, and it's so much more complicated that personality traits--the way the current system is set up will leave the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer--it's how capitalism is set up to work. Marx predicted it 100 years ago, it's true--in fact he wrote a book about it. Creepy, but true. He actually predicted this very revolution (*surprise!).
But what I love is that people are getting angry about this. Like, pissed. And they are doing something about it. Social movements are the best!!! This isn't about people agreeing or disagreeing with my political view, this is about the fact that a collective group of people is standing together to voice their dissatisfaction with something--we're doing something. What has killed me these past few years since my eyes have been opened (thank you Sociology!), is the amount of apathy present in this country--and this is the country where we should be voicing our opinions of all places!
As I walked around downtown Hartford chanting "WE. ARE. THE 99 PERCENT! YOU. ARE. THE 99 PERCENT!" and "WHAT DOES DEMOCRACY LOOK LIKE? THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!" and feeling particularly hippie-ish, I couldn't help but hope that I'm not being overly optimistic in believing that change is coming, that things are going to be rectified, that things WILL get better. That our government will get itself together and stop representing the people instead of themselves. But it is my faith that propels me to keep on using my voice. Christians pray the Lord's prayer all the time to bring heaven to earth, and to help the poor, and all of that--so, let's get moving!
Oh, by the way, you should sign this petition. Why? Because basically the government thought it would be a GREAT idea to bailout banks, but not the people--so this representative is submitting a bill for all student loan debt to be forgiven. Why will this help our economy? Well, think about it. I have $400 each month in student loans--what am I IMMEDIATELY going to do when I have an extra $400 a month? Probably pay off my car. Probably go travel, probably start saving for a down payment on a house. So the idea is to put money back in the hands of the people, and not bailout corporations that may not effect the greater majority. I LOVE THIS IDEA. And you could get your loans forgiven...win-win!!! Check out my facebook page for some more articles about Occupy Wall Street!