I am a recent college graduate. I don’t have the dream job society promised a diploma would get me, and like most Americans, I am very anxious about our current economic climate. Like many twenty-something Americans, I am angry with Wall Street, the U.S. government and big business for their role in an economic collapse that will undoubtedly make my life considerably more difficult in the future. However, one month into the occupation of Wall Street, I would like to make an appeal to my fellow twenty-something Americans: liberate Wall Street.
Over the past month, while watching the extensive media coverage of Wall Street’s Liberty Square, I sympathized with protestors. The college graduates unable to find work, the unemployed parents, and the families that had lost their homes. Day after day, cable news networks, eager to have something to fill the 24-hour news cycle, broadcast thousands of images of demonstrators, angry with the “1%.” I could sympathize, after all, these people were me, they were you, and they were the 99%. Then I went to Wall Street.
Unlike the media images of educated young people wanting change, I only encountered drugged up, strung out hippies who had turned Liberty Square into Woodstock. For two days I spoke to people , demonstrators, police officers, and media outlets, to try to get a better understanding of what was really happening on Wall Street. I walked away somewhat jaded. Covered in tarps and tents, and reeking of marijuana, Liberty Square was occupied, for the most part, by degenerates. In the greatest economic crisis since the great depression, this was not the group I wanted representing me.
I do not believe that these people are the 99%. In fact, I believe that these people are the 1% of my generation. The 99% that I know goes to work to produce change. If we can’t find work, we make an effort to look for it. In an economic climate that has made it rather difficult to find a job, pay off student loans or even eat, the 99% I know gets up and goes to work to produce long-term, effective change. The 99% I know is not passed out in a park at noon on a Monday.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand Wall Streets role in our economic collapse. I also understand the anger felt towards the “1% of people writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.” But here is a question I am posing to protesters: by lying around, playing a ukulele and smoking pot in a park, don’t you feel like you are foreclosing on your future? My fear is that this 1% , gaining massive media attention, will inspire short-term, quick-fixes that will affect us all, when they most likely don’t even know what they’re talking about.
While on Wall Street I heard many protestors make reference to the demonstrations and rallies of the sixties. The sit-ins, campus protests, and nation-wide demonstrations against “the man.” Similarly, I will revert to the words of Richard Nixon in 1963, as I make an appeal to the great silent majority of my fellow (20-something) Americans: I ask for your support, in liberating Wall Street.