Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 25, 2011, 9:23 a.m. EST by mikekramer
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
A few of my intelligent friends have recently talked about the OWS movement in Newt Gingrich terms, i.e. “What do they want? Get a shower. Get a job.” Rather than get upset. I wrote this letter.
Americans over 40 had the 90’s to get their career going and benefit greatly from the post WWII economic juggernaut that is the United States. Those of us with average intelligence were able to pursue virtually unlimited career options and not worry too much about unemployment. Many of us can be self-congratulatory about the opportunities our country gave us.
For people under 35 who started their careers in the 2000’s, the situation is not so great. It seems that we who had the jobs, money and power have left them a bit of a mess. The OWS movement indicates to me that our kids have woken up to the following clear- as -day facts:
They see that we entered this century with low unemployment and peace.
They now see that a decade later we have: -50% of Americans below or near the poverty level -pursued two expensive wars with patriotic fervor- all paid for by the Chinese -outsourced hundreds of thousands of meaningful white collar jobs to improve bottom lines and stock performance -extremely high unemployment -tax cuts for the rich -50 million Americans with no health insurance and meaningful reform blocked by senators who take lobbying money (bribes) from insurance companies -a Citizens United Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to buy our democracy -the fourth highest income inequality in the world behind Chile, Mexico and Turkey -a global financial meltdown originated in the USA through Wall Street’s sale of fraudulent mortgage derivatives and credit default swaps to pension funds around the world. And still no one has gone to jail and there has been no meaningful reform.
With this as a backdrop, I believe the vast majority of thinking young people now realize that there is little chance of any meaningful employment, and feel as though their future has been robbed. So now this is their battle.
As for the question of “What do they want?”, I am not sure we can expect the OWS movement to zero in at this point on which of the many above referenced atrocities is the one they want to attack first. The civil rights, equal rights and anti-war movements took years to gather support and leadership. Our kids have no power and no money, so this fight will take time. I personally believe that a major OWS thrust should be to elect politicians like Elizabeth Warren, who would pledge not to take bribe money from lobbyists. If we could get the money out of politics, we could start to generate policies that benefit the many and not the few.
As for my friends that think like Newt, I suggest they walk the streets of Mexico or Chile to see what extreme income inequality does to a country when it persists for decades. The crime and the violence never go away. If Zucotti was an annoyance to them, I am guessing years of chaos in the streets would be much more upsetting. If they still want to deny that these kids have a legitimate beef, then they should start looking for a nice gated community where they can continue to live life obliviously.
Our kids can either get fighting mad and go after these issues one by one for the next decade or give up and get back to their X-Box 360s.
So my Holiday wish is that that my kids get fighting mad and work hard to bring fairness back to our country. I plan to support them in any way I can.
Mike Kramer NYC