Sometimes I think that those out demonstrating against such things as “globalization” and “fracking” don’t have a clue about what they are protesting against. They latched on to some kind of cause, and they want to relive the glory days of the 1960s (even though they weren’t even born then). Back in the 1960s, we had real causes: a terrible war in Viet Nam and civil rights, to name the two main issues.
Now we have demonstrators in the Wall Street area, and the protests are spreading to other cities and countries. Do these people have a legitimate cause or are they hippie wannabes? What is their gripe anyway? As I understand it, they have several complaints:
(1) The greed of the financial system (banks, mortgage lenders) which caused the current economic recession.
(2) The inequality between the richest 1% of the population and everybody else.
(3) The leadership crisis in Washington resulting in no agreement as to how to fix the mess we’re in.
(4) Overall dissatisfaction with government and the capitalist economic system.
In all of these, I believe the protestors have legitimate cause to demonstrate their disappointment. These aren’t fictitious or trivial complaints, but they get to the heart of the breakdown of our government and economic system. Our type of government is the best in the world, but it isn’t working as intended because of politicians who put party, ideology, and special interests ahead of what is best for the country and their constituents. The capitalistic economic system is the best way to go (as opposed to communism or socialism), but greed and incompetence have caused our system to falter and fail.
The items listed above are very simplistic, but I believe they summarize well what is wrong with this country and why the demonstrators are out there calling attention to our plight. Demonstrations may get people’s attention, but we need to vote the politicians out and keep doing so until we get folks in power who actually work for us and our best interests. We also have to pressure Washington to have appropriate regulation, oversight, and auditing over the financial system since banks, left to their own devices, will mess things up every time.
Watch for a future post on inequality.