It seems clear that some people don’t understand the Wall Street protests that are going on now in New York City … and indeed, with similar protests in cities across America and around the world. They seem to share some of the same hallmarks: the rich getting rich and the poor getting poorer. Of course, to the financially well-heeled, it seems as perplexing as ever. As they look out their smoked glassed condos or downtown office suites they say, “What recession? If it were all that serious, wouldn’t they’d be marching people off to jail for causing this economic mess in the first place?”
In America, most people understood that the financial bailout of the banks and investment firms, and the rescue of the auto companies, were all to avoid a total economic collapse. But now those same banks, Wall Street firms and (in general) Corporate America are thriving. As executive bonuses continue to rise, their collective response to tax payers seems to be, “Let them eat cake.”
And talking about leadership: what is the government, the congress, the senate, or either political party doing – other than not talking to each other? One thing for sure, with a Presidential election looming next year, these same politicians will be pulling everyone’s patriotic heartstrings just to get elected… and then what?
If there is one thing for certain about this grassroots protest, it is that politicians and business would do well to understand that it’s not going away. No one knows what direction or shape it will take next; it’s standing up for American values against injustice– anyone in the world can relate to it. Even as the protests’ physical presence drifts away – as it must with winter snows soon to set in– their point has been made.
Just like a Hollywood movie before the screen fades to black and the musical scores rises up, the familiar words of that old Broadway tune is playing again in everyone’s heart:
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere … it’s up to you New York, New York!
Fred Parry fredparry.ca 2011