09 November 2011

Occupy Wall Mart?



I've been watching the Occupy Wall Street movement as a curious bystander, wondering about the object of the demonstration as well as the source of the utter disdain some have for the protesters. To be honest, I'm not sure I get either. I think at the heart of the protest movement is just a simple outpouring of frustration in general that ranges from the lack of employment, corporate corruption and loss of ethics, to a broad underlying concern that it appears things are about to get worse given the political outlook. Sure, it has its crazies and detractors, but then who doesn't?


I had dinner with a good friend I would consider on the far right. He essentially mocked the movement because they don't have a clear message.....that in fact, it was a variety of concerns he heard as a reporter interviewed one after another protesters. I tend to be more sympathetic. However, I don't believe the Occupy movement, or at least it doesn't appear the movement has a deeper understanding of this unraveling of the American dream. Further, I don't believe they understand (generally) that they are the ones who have contributed to our economic condition.


Corporate greed is fed by willing spenders. We want our stuff cheap. Well, to do that retailers (assume big box since cheap automatically disqualifies mom & pop) have to outsource the manufacture of that cheap crap to someplace with a workforce willing to work for a third what we do. Hey, buddy, that's why you can't find work! Oh yeah, and we want cheap gas to drive our cars to buy our cheap crap.....which is on the other side of town now......so, guess what? The demand for drilling in your back yard and running a pipe line goes up, as does our imperative for an expensive military presence on the other side of the world. Unfortunately that is costing more than endangered wildlife their habitat, it has cost us dearly in dead and broken humanity.


No, I don't decry the protest like many others on the right. I just don't think the American public understand that we have created this mess ourselves, if we did, we would Occupy Walmart. We are too lazy to think about the collateral damage in making a living from gambling (did I say gambling, I meant to say day-trading to clean it up), supporting a "global economy" or much less the benefit to promoting a local economy. The outcry against the protests I believe is coming from those who have not yet become affected by the corrosive nature of this new American economic model, or from those who benefit from it. But it is apparent that as a nation we have begun this race to the bottom where things, including ethics, will only be weighed by their economic value. It is a new formula that dismisses faith, humanity, and stewardship for future generations.....and the last is what concerns me the most.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Interesting take -- and a perspective I haven't seen elsewhere.

I don't blame the protesters for being angry; in a big way, we've all been screwed. But you're right, we have to look at our part in it.