Maybe, It’s not as wonderful as we thought.
By Vaughn Whitney Garland
The recent video of Wall Street revelers overlooking the mass of people marching by, as they themselves were perched above, holding champagne and taking pictures, is a perfect example of what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are standing up against. It is not difficult to understand, but the complexities of it will take some time to talk about. The point is that our system of government and livelihood is not equal, it is not supportive of our people and our communities. That system needs to change. It needs to allow for the individual voice.
Respect should be America’s slogan, not greed.
In place of our American communities we find corporations. Unlike the scenes from Hollywood that showed us how to cheer on the American who overcame injustice, we now find culture being wooed by big businesses that put profit before people. Our communities witnesses daily the lengths corporations go to in order to game the system in their favor. Instead of looking to the American people, large corporations direct their energies toward money. They ship jobs overseas, finds loopholes to pay less in taxes, and persuade the courts and politicians to rule in their favor. Political parties try to put blame on the other side of the aisle, distracting us from our own creation of a covetous financial system and a system of weights that posit people last.
Over the past fifty years America has seen its small towns dry up. The small grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, and banks were replaced with large corporate box chains that mistreated its employees and product producers in the quest for profit. I will never forget the day my grandmother came home and told our family that she could not make a living anymore doing what she loved. Large corporations had made their way through the hills of southwest Virginia pushing the small farmers out of business by raising seed prices while lowering the price of crops. Now, we see a resurgence of small farmers trying to rework the soil, not because of the great wealth they enjoy but because they are called to a way of life many Americans once knew. Every week the farmer’s markets are filled with people yearning for that small town feeling. This rediscovery is still not easy. Farmers, like anyone that tries to start a business in today’s market, must face a wide range of oppressions and resistances from the corporation culture.
Corporations are not people, even if the courts deem them so. Unlike communities that care for the success of its people, corporations, in the capitalist’s enterprise, exploits a weakness in people. Corporations are about making money, not empathetic for the individual voice. The selfish corporate autocracy is not the America that is thought of as a golden empire. What is so distressing about the image of the Wall Street reveler is that while the world watches in fear of an economic decay of our financial system Wall Street still does not get it.
The protesters who are standing up for the 99 percent get what the Wall Street doesn’t. These protesters understand that corporations should not govern. In essence, Corporations should not determine human livelihood. The ninety-nine percent see a world turned upside down, where the worth of the individual is nothing more than a consumer. "You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn't, Mr. Potter. In the whole vast configuration of things, I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider!" (James Stewart in It’s a wonderful Life) Yet, even when corporations seem so dictatorial the Occupy Wall Street protesters are not against corporate ingenuity and prosperity. The protesters standing up for the ninety-nine percent are for a system of equality that gives everyone a chance at a good life.
Critics of the Occupy Wall Street protesters have used every rule in the book to discount OWS, calling the protesters lazy, filthy, criminals. Yet, the protests get larger and larger. People from all walks of life and from all over the country are joining in on the movement. Why? Because we are suffering and we want our voice back. The people who call themselves the ninety-nine percent are the new day for our country. They are self-mobilized and dependent on each other. They do not need corporations to survive, just the knowledge that they stand beside a brother and sister who share in their suffering. Here, the community is important.
In Zuccotti park Americans are reawakening the country we somehow forgot about. These Americans are standing to reclaim the American spirit, by protesting that corporations have stepped too far. Under the complexity of all the issues one thing is loud and clear, we want our country back from corporate influence and we will work as a community in order to show the one percent that people still have the power.
"Faceoff at 55 Wall St," Uploaded by strugglevideomedia on Sep 18, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rfuvDr2wJQ
It's a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Thomas Mitchell. RKO, 1946. Film