If you've watched the news, read the paper, or even browsed the Internet over the past few weeks, you've no doubt seen coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. And if you're anything like me, you're a bit confused as to what it's all about. Let's take a look at what exactly all the protestors are, well, protesting.
Alan Grayson, a former economist and Congressman from Florida, was interviewed by Crooks and Liars, a self-proclaimed 'politically left blog.' Grayson explained, in a nutshell, that protestors are "complaining about the fact the Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody’s held responsible for that." Those on Wall Street, Grayson claimed, have "iron control over economic policies of this country." But in what ways are the actions of those on Wall Street affecting me?
Grayson attributed most of our economic and societal problems to the greedy people on Wall Street. "...We should not have twenty four million people in this country who can’t find a full time job...we should not have fifty million people who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick...we shouldn’t have forty seven million people of this country who need government help to feed themselves. And we shouldn’t have fifteen million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of home," Grayson said.
Protestors believe that Wall Street's control over our nation's economy is resulting in America's high levels of unemployment, its citizens' dependency on national programs, and extreme mortgage rates. Corporate greed, demonstrators assert, is slowly killing the "99 percent."
The movement is becoming so widespread that CBS News correspondent Bigad Shaban said, "...this isn't your average protest." Indeed, some protestors have lived on the streets out of their custom backpacks for over three weeks at this point. Shaban gave viewers a look at a "makeshift village" in New York's Zuccotti Park at which activists have lived over the past few weeks, complete with yoga lessons, a temporary library, a medical tent, and even a newspaper, The Occupy Wall Street Journal.
Are the people's protests as a result of their frustrations enough to make a difference? Naomi Smith, a principal from Central Park East II who encouraged her students to participate in the protests on Columbus Day, a public holiday, told The New York Times that this is what democracy is all about. "I thought it would be great for the children to see what's happening here," Smith said, according to the Huffington Post. "This is what democracy looks like."