Occupy Philly - Ignorant Americans or Americans Against Ignorance and Greed?
I originally had mixed feelings about Occupy Philly and Occupy Wall Street, or to be honest, I was negative about it. I mean I kept thinking to myself the protesters have it wrong, they should be protesting against Congress and Capitol Hill instead of big banks and corporations! So as usual, I am bantering on my Facebook and Twitter and have some threads that go 70 plus comments long with some very interesting discussion. It really gets me thinking - who are these "protesters" and who am I to say what the protesters should be protesting against?? So inspiration grows to the point where I clear my schedule, and my assistant Mary and I hail a cab down to City Hall to check things out.
And the big difference is when you substitute people versus ideas in your own head, your perspective changes a little bit (or a lot). I must be honest, I was originally thinking on my way down I was going to take a photo or a video of one or two "freaks" to mock the whole thing and dismiss it. I saw later that is what Erin Burnett of CNN (Erin Burnett video) did and I think she missed the whole point of this movement (on a side note, I loved Erin when she was on CNBC, but I think her CNN show will not last more than 6 months). When I was down at City Hall, the energy was palpable, intensity was in folks' eyes, and signs were everywhere expressing individual beliefs. You could feel the unrest, frustration and anger by listening to the stories of everyone there.
Various chants of democracy were shouted out from time to time and the unity would come together in full circle. It did not matter what race, sex, age you were. People united in Philadelphia and are coming together all over the country sharing the same message of frustration and discontent. The bottom line is that there is this huge underbelly of Americans who are disgusted with the way the country is being run - their anger may be towards corporations and bailouts or towards the political system. But for heavens sake, it is America and folks have the right to express themselves. I hope their message is heard by politicians from coast to coast. Neither Republicans nor Democrats really know what to do with these rallies as of yet, whether to embrace the "99 percent" or not.
And not for nothing, I am frustrated too. I have been mostly frustrated for the last 3 years with the tremendous gridlock in Washington, DC and with the political games that have been played that in essence has hurt our country. In the last 12 months, there has been severe wealth destruction in the stock market, especially in the last quarter which was the worst performing quarter since 2008 during the financial crisis. Hard working Americans have seen their largest assets - their 401ks and their houses depreciate. And Congress refuses to come up with a meaningful plan that will incentivize small businesses and the private sector to hire. Until the economy starts to grow, there will continue to be this unrest and frustration. And the biggest issue in my opinion is the fiscal policy coming out of Congress and the Obama Administration and the excessive regulation that is handcuffing corporations to grow. Those same corporations that people hate now they will love again once they are hiring and providing nice benefit packages. I guess that is the love/hate relationships of capitalism.
In the meantime, there needs to be immediate stimulus for the housing market. I will write about this in a future article.
For now, I want to say thank you to the folks who started the "Occupy" movement. And I want to say "Thank You" to my Facebook friends for starting a healthy debate. It is a lot different from being behind a computer and saying things in a quick instant versus talking to people face-to-face and seeing pain, frustration and anger in their eyes. I remember in 1990 (man I am old) when I graduated from college... it was pretty tough back then, it took me awhile to find a job even with a CPA license. I think it is much harder now for college graduates today. And to come out of college with debt and student loans only to struggle finding a well paying job has to suck. Period!!
If you have not had a chance to march around City Hall or participate in this movement, why not? Engage. I was skeptical. Yes, the message is garbled, scattered. So what... Obviously, the country has problems and Congress is a hell of a lot more scattered and they are getting paid a lot of money with lifetime health-care benefits. Sucks to be them... Now get the F*Ing job done!
What are your thoughts ?
Let's leave off on this classic Green Day song "American Idiot" , all 99 percent of us!
Green Day - American Idiot by Warner-Music