I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about Occupy Wall Street. She said to me “This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life”. I told her I feel exactly the same way.
The only difference is that she’s in her early twenties, and I’m in my early fifties.
I’m not sure which is better. She’s had an entire lifetime full of nothing but the downsizing of her country, and the theft of her future. The only two presidents a person her age could have had any mature appreciation of were George W. Bush, the thief and liar, and Barack Obama, another thief and liar. She has never known an America that wasn’t reeling under the assault of Wall Street plutocrats and the kleptocrats they hire to do their bidding in Washington.
On the other hand, people her age could at most have suffered with the pain of being under this siege for a mere five years or so, unless they happen to have been astonishingly attentive and precocious preteens. My generation, on the other hand, has been living this nightmare for three solid decades now, through Republican abominations and – in many ways, worse – Democratic as well. We have known indisputably throughout this era that a better country is not just a pretty aspiration or a theoretical proposition. We know that because we once lived there. I’m glad I had that experience. But, that said, carrying around the heartache of observing our national suicide by greed for more than thirty years’ time has also been a painful, soul-numbing burden I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I don’t know what will come of Occupy Wall Street, and its brother an sister movements in cities across the world. On the one hand, this is the most hopeful development I’ve seen since the dark finale to the year 1980 gave us Ronald Reagan and took away John Lennon.