As I was flipping channels last week, I came up a dismissive and derisive broadcast by Fox News where they interviewed inarticulate young people in the OccupyWallStreet movement and then made fun of their aspirations for "world peace" or "an end to greed".
As usual Fox News speaks for the moneyed interests of Rupert Murdoch and his family, whose media empire is so lost to decency that they will hack into the cell phones of murder victims solely to get the pathetic messages of frantic family members trying to reach their missing child.
I listened to those young people and remembered a time when I marched to end a pointless and unjust war. Yes, I, too, wanted world peace and an end to an unjust draft. And President Nixon brilliantly let all the air out of the "anti-war" movement by ending the draft. I watched in dismay as others of my generation, particularly the long-haired radical guys, immediately turned to making money any way they could. They really didn't care about world peace, you see. They just wanted an end to uncertainty so they could get a job and get on with their lives.
And there is nothing wrong with the vague goals of the young folks Occupying Wall St or Washington or Seattle or any of the other place where these movements are springing up. Unemployment among young people 20-24 years old is 14.7%, much higher than the national average. Their signs speak of student debt and postponing all the milestones of life: marriage, getting a house, having children. They are living at home with the parents, if lucky.
I graduated during the Reagan recession with a degree newly minted for an energy analyst, but found that corporate doors were closing just as I had obtained the credentials I needed to get my foot in. It was painful having to readjust my horizons, but I did it and within two or three years I got my foot on another career ladder, but that little dip in the economy had a lasting impact on my earning expectations and opportunities.
With a totally stagnant economy that might not recover for a decade, and a past decade that has relentlessly eroded the aspirations of middle-class Americans, folks at the centers of power need to sit up and pay attention.
These young people are camping out for me, enduring arrests for me and inarticulate or not, speaking for me. They want a fair shake, a chance to prove themselves, gainful and meaningful employment...THEY WANT A JOB!
They want the certainty that if they work hard and pay into a government program all their lives, politicians won't treat it like a slush fund to vote inflated benefits to 'the greatest generation' and then cut or end the program before the people who have been paying for it can cash in.
They want a banking system that loans to businesses here in the USA to create jobs here in the USA. They want fair laws protecting consumers from bad food, filthy water, unsafe products and unscrupulous mortgage lenders, credit card companies and banking fees.
They want a government for the people, by the people, of the people...not a bunch of cynical, shrill-voiced fund-raisers who will kiss the butt of any corporation or wealthy person who will donate to their next political campaign. Just voting the current set of bastards out will not be enough, because the new bastard will just get bought out. We need a Congress that will pass a budget and watch for corruption and waste in the executive branch; we need an executive branch that will fight tooth and nail for the interests and rights of the ordinary people; we need a Supreme Court who knows the difference between a person and a business. We need a government that will roll up its sleeves and get to work. We need an economy that works for America...until you have that, the deficit will continue to grow, the economy will falter and unrest will grow.
Congress missed the boat by having the wrong debate this summer. Cutting costs is not the real issue; meeting the aspirations of the American people is. Get this, fat wads, these kids are not asking for a handout, not like the politicians and political parties spamming my inbox daily. They represent the best of us; they are are our future. Stop arresting them and start thinking how to create that future.