The Greatest Generation; a title given (by Tom Brokaw) to the men and women who grew up during Great Depression and fought in WWII. Both sets of my grandparents were born into this generation of Americans, and Brokaw’s book on this group is excellent. It put a lot of things into perspective for me as I read through and developed an appreciation for what the generation did for America.
The Entitled Generation: that appears to be the legacy of my generation. We are the single-most entitled generation this world has ever seen. I can’t prove it, but I challenge anyone to disprove it. We have more freedoms, more wealth, more access to education, health care, transportation, etc. than any generation before us. And we’ve squandered it. We have wasted the hard work generations before us put it only to refuse to work certain jobs deemed beneath us. We demanded more support from our families when times were difficult. And now many of us don’t have jobs, and we blame everyone else. We’re unhappy, and it’s unfair.
I’ve been having useless conversations on twitter with supporters of the #OccupyWallStreet movement. I asked one of them what they hoped to achieve, and the response was a detached from reality as this movement is; “Poverty, Homeslessness, Health Care (what does this even mean), abuses of Women and Children…” Color me shocked. either the writer wants more poverty and homelessness, or they want to end them. It’s still unclear.
At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, it must be stated: these problems will never go away. Homelessness will always exist. Poverty will always exist. Access to health care will always be an issue. Abuses of people will never cease. Filling up Wall Street with American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, iPhones, Androids, designer jeans and hooded sweatshirts does not a revolution make, and it certainly isn’t a revolution the average American would join.
I understand the underlying premise of the entire event. “Corporations have taken a seemingly unfair advantage on the political process through lobbying and funding, and we want to take control back.” Simple enough, in theory. In reality, that doesn’t sum up the “goals” of this “movement.” In fact, to call this a movement is an insult to the Civil Right Movement, or the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Those movements had staying power and were effective due to a coherent message (although it was absolutely the right thing to do).
The perception of the Occupy protestors is that they all want change. However, if you were to ask three different protesters what the goals of #Occupy are, you would likely get three vastly different answers.
The absolute hypocrisy of a movement against corporatism being conducted with iPhone cameras, camping gear, megaphones, etc. is insane. People in America vote with their dollars, and they have for 230 years. If you don’t support big banks, don’t bank with them. If you don’t support oil companies not paying a fair share of taxes, don’t purchase from that company. The problem with living in a global community is that, occasionally, you will need something from someone that you don’t agree with on moral principle. You have a choice.
In 1850, the federal government removed the “Landowner” restriction from voting rights for white men. For over 70 years, many white men (70-90%) didn’t have the right to vote. In 1870, former slaves were granted the right to vote. In 1920, women’s suffrage guaranteed women the right to vote. And yet many people don’t vote. If they do, they rarely understand the issues and consequences of their positions on those issues.
I don’t want corporations running my government. I want “We the people” running the government, on all levels. But a nation that would elect the representation we have in office deserves the result we get. Until we become more fully engaged in the process and actually LEARN about why our nation operates the way it does, Occupy protesters will be a distraction and not a solution.