The Occupy Wall Street protests spreading Arab Spring-style across the land are an inspiring display of civic engagement, finally giving popular voice to the entirely valid complaints of ordinary Americans frustrated as their quality of life stagnates or declines while the prosperity of the superwealthy metastasizes beyond all proportion. Like any major rally, these have also attracted elements reminiscent of the extreme Tea Party variety (the guy wielding an “Osama bin Bernanke” poster). But there’s no question that the bottom 99 percent have something to complain about and that this movement is giving voice to their valid grievances.
“No job, no healthcare, no savings, no retirement fund,” reads the sign held up by an unemployed and disabled art teacher from Rochester, New York, on the “We Are the 99 Percent” Tumblr blog that chronicles these voices. Scroll through the hundreds of photos on the blog and a coherent set of legitimate gripes emerges from the tapestry of words and faces: accelerating income inequality, shrinking income mobility, a tax code that favors the wealthy, a democracy corrupted by money, and a government unwilling or unable to protect the middle class even as it bails out Wall Street.
These are the concerns of the vast majority of Americans. They demand our attention and deserve Washington’s immediate action.
For more on this topic, please see: