I've been reading and thinking a lot about the Occupy Wall Street movement and these two articles, one by Sally Kohn (from Fox News.com) the other by Julianne Malveaux (from CNN.com), really have got me thinking. The articles are essentially mirror images of one another on either side of the political spectrum. One is saying that we should see these protests as a larger movement outside of the actual protestors, and the other one is asking what do the protesters really want? Can you guess who is writing what? I bet you would be wrong. In my best Spock voice, "Fascinating!"
I find Sally Kohn's argument actually quite interesting. I think the fact that no broader single issue is emerging is actually the point. People are just mad. And I mean, hopping mad. When you're mad at someone, you don't always speak well because, um, you're mad, a state which is not necessarily conducive to being completely cogent at all times, since you're so freakin mad. I think this anger, which inspired the Tea Party as well, is largely based upon an underlying feeling of deep disgruntlement. Anyone who has been following me on Twitter or on Facebook knows that I (1) have an underwater mortgage, (2) pay my mortgage on time, and (3) I can't get a re-fi. The bank will not modify my loan because I don't make enough money and at the same time, I am not in any financial hardship which would lead to me needing help. I was told that, by law, we cannot rescind your mortgage (So are you thinking about that?) The bank's suggestion? This is for real folks: the bank suggested FORECLOSE ON YOUR HOUSE OR SELL IT IN A SHORT SALE. This was their advice over 2 measly percentage points on my interest rate. I pay my health insurance every month. But I don't get anything covered until I reach a rather high deductible. So, don't get sick. Don't loose your job. Sh*t, don't fart in the wrong direction because you will loose errrrythang you got…and then maybe, juuuusssst maybe…we will help you, but that's not guaranteed. And now you want me to pay $5 to take my own money out the bank?
This anger is not just mine. Whole legions of folks - - enough to populate entire cities - - are one paycheck away from bankruptcy. The median price for a home in Detroit the last time I checked was $18,000. Thats not the low end ya'll, that's THE MIDDLE. So while Biff and Buffy are hanging out with Trump and the Housewives of whatever rich spot they're in, talking about how hard they have to work to get the schedule together so they can take this vacation or have a party or whatever, the VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS are struggling just to keep the quality of life they work 60-80 hours a week to maintain, from falling apart. Ain't nobody against people being rich or making money. This is an aspirational country. However, don't tell me that I'm part of a mob, or against capitalism, or that I have no respect for people's property, or that I don't understand what I'm talking about, or that I want a hand out, or I just need to work for it! !!! I'VE BEEN WORKING M----A F---A, THAT'S THE PROBLEM! I WORK MY ASS OFF!!! TRICKLE SOME OF THAT SHIT DOWN!
(deep breath) That's what this movement is about.