Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy: The Way To Go?

Today, Buffalo officially became one of the Occupy Wall Street cities. They now have a permit to set up tents and be there 24/7. As with all issues and protests, I know people who are absolutely against this whole movement, and others who fully support it and would be there if they could.

We all have the right to protest and use our freedom of speech. And while I feel the whole movement has some good points, I'm a little confused about their methods. I feel like all of them should pack up and move to Washington. Take over the city. Go all over Washington. At the White House, at Capitol Hill, etc. My opinion is that standing around Wall Street is never going to convince the people who need to make change. Nobody votes on who works on Wall Street. You want to make a democratic difference? Go to the government. They should find their favorite politician and volunteer for their campaign. You'd have some great resume experience and actually be doing something worthwhile. (I find it ironic that they aren't going to Washington for this; could it be due to the fact that most of these people are Lib/Dems and so is the President? Gotta find someone else to blame.)

Two of the main reasons many people gather is because of the state of unemployment and student loans. Trust me, trust me, trust me. My little family is feeling the effects of these. My husband, thankfully, has a job. But trying to get a better/new one has been close to impossible. Jobs are scarce, and we are stuck in this cycle of trying and hoping. Student loans are beyond ridiculous. They are as much as our monthly mortgage payment.

However, my husband went to school out of his own choice. Blaming others for his choices and expecting his debt to be taken care of by someone else is irresponsible. That's like buying a $20k car just because everyone else is doing it, then realizing you don't have the money to pay for it. Then you continue driving the car but expect someone else to pick up the payments. College has gotten out of control. Every high school student should watch an hour long documentary on YouTube called "The College Conspiracy." Ignore the subtle hints to invest in the company's gold, and you will learn some insane facts about the college hype and how not every 18 year old should go to a four-year-school and squander money for an "experience" out of their means.

As far as jobs go, I'm NOT saying there are enough good jobs for everyone. But I am saying people are hiring. I know it's not the job you went to school for, but there are jobs. This is directed at the people who are "occupying" and not looking for jobs. Who are eating food being donated from others, who are updating their FB statuses on their iPhones but complaining about not being able to pay their student loans.

Yes, we are the 99%. But have you stopped to think that we still have more than millions of people around the world? We have plenty of clothes, food, we have a house, a car, apparently we all can't live without our fancy web-surfing cell phones, and spending money for going out.

I'm just so curious what would have happened if the organizer of "Occupy Wall Street" decided to create an "Occupy a Nursing Home" or "Occupy an Orphanage" or "Occupy a Soup Kitchen" - some place that needed love, time, and support. There are thousands of places all over just the U.S. that need help. I can guarantee nobody would have stepped forward. People don't have enough time to volunteer. People never have enough time to help others.

But stand on the street corners and demand that others help you? Heck yeah, we have time for that.

In our day and age of entitlement, I'm not surprised that thousands of people are gathering to demand better treatment. Corporate greed is real and it does affect us, but do you really think the CEOs are going to look out their windows, and change? That's what I just don't understand. As soon as things get hard, people stop trying to make their lives better and just start complaining. They open their hands and close their minds. I think they're hoping to be given a bailout so they can move into a retirement community at 30 years old without any more student loans.

I'm not against using your voice and your freedom of speech. I'm not against protesting.

I am against the entitlement mindset, trashing a city to a disgusting level, and refusing to use your time and talents to help those in need.


i.ikeda said...

You have some good points here that I can definitely agree with and stand behind. But I also think there are some things I'd question. I don't know the whole story about the Occupy Wall Street movement, so maybe you're absolutely right about them. But just hear me for a second.

I don't believe marching in Washington alone would resolve an issues related to corporate greed. Of course we should vote and participate in the political process, but I also feel the political system hasn't worked all that well lately, no matter which side you're on. So in addition to continuing to work on the Washington side and work with your representatives, I also think there comes a point when trying to force those who run the economic system (in Washington and elsewhere) to pay attention may speed up the process of change.

Also, "forgiving" student loan debt seems preposterous to me, for the same reasons you mentioned. But there is a new law going into effect that will end subsidized loans, and I don't think this will have the effect they intend. Is this really the place to try and get more revenues? Does it match the goal of trying to get more people into higher levels of education? I do believe with all my heart that we're all (the whole world) moving in the direction of a flow of information society, and those who become the hubs of information in the network will have the better chances at a higher quality of life. This means that *good quality* higher education is necessary for a larger portion of the population. How will doing away with subsized loans encourage those with less means to attempt the better schools (who many times are much more expensive)?

Of course, the level of quality in the higher education system is highly debatable, and we should ask ourselves what the universities are actually doing. Bu tot me that's another question. I think offering only unsubsidized loans will come back to haunt us in the future. I say this as someone who will end school before the law goes into effect, so I'm not speaking out of a direct involvement in how much I pay.

I've written a book already, so I'll stop. But I feel like we are at a point when we should all be having this discussion openly. So thank you for the post. (and sorry for the essay)

Maggie said...

Thanks and no need to apologize for a long comment - you have good points. Very thought-provoking. :)

BritB said...

I so agree with you! Josh has been saying the same things for the past couple of days. What a difference that could be made if all of these people directed their attention to serving others! Corporations and government are prone to corruption but how quickly we forget about the basic needs of others and how lucky we really are.

Karen @ Fun 4 Kids in Buffalo said...

The ironic thing about Occupy Wall Street in particular is that as the protestors are "protesting" big business they are really harming some of the small businesses trying to operate on Wall Street. Tonight I listened to a small business owner call in to a radio program with her story. She owns a sandwich. shop on Wall Street. Business is down 40% in the last 3 weeks because their usual customers won't come close because of the stench of people who have been there weeks without showering/bathing, etc. These people are coming into her shop ALL DAY to use her restroom but don't actually buy anything from her.
Nice post - good to think about these things.

LuAnn said...

Such a thoughtful, well-written analysis. I agree with you 100%!