It seems our quenchless thirst for big homes, fast cars and flat screens has really spun us off into a ditch this time. At the start of 2012, we Americans find ourselves with sky-high record debt, off-the-charts government and military spending, record high unemployment, home foreclosures, poverty, and infrastructure decay. From the last recession till now, that’s quite a decade’s worth of work.
Realizing that our system of government is unable or unwilling to fix these problems was the genesis of the now marginalized, Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy began with the right spirit, at the right time, but was tripped-up from get-go, by the very slogan chosen to convey it’s message, “were the 99 percent.” Once politicized, “were the 99 percent” turned out to be only about 33 percent. Thirty three percent of those polled actually supported the Occupy movement. Split by the employed and unemployed, democrat and republican, young and old, Occupy was doomed from the beginning. The power in a public demonstration against unfairness is in its appeal to the outrage of the masses and 33 percent comes up more than a little bit short.
Unfortunately, all the problems mentioned above still exist. If an imbalanced distribution of wealth is not the cause, then just what is it? An argument could be made that our sense of greed and entitlement has finally tipped the scales away from the very American values we owe to our rapidly disappearing past. Why do we allow corruption in government and business when our American values call for fairness and honesty? Why do we allow our debt to escalate out of control when our American values call for us to responsibly spend what we earn? Why do we allow our schools and levees and roads to deteriorate when the safety and well-being of our children are at risk? This is not America.
Or maybe it is? Teach values now… and walk the talk.