In related news, gravity still makes things fall down.
First off, a disclaimer: I am about the biggest non-activist you are likely to find. I can't stand rallies, dislike crowds in general, and generally prefer a calm conversation to shouting slogans any day of the week. I also am rather skeptical about Occupy Wall Street-- not because its general principles are necessarily wrong, but simply that I don't think drum circles really accomplish anything. Capitalism may have some major problems, but it's what we've got to work with, and I'd much rather see passionate young people working to help others than yelling about how we need to tear it all down, man.
That said, as part of a silly attempt to mock the OWS protestors, Doug Giles inadvertently winds up making their points for them.
from an earth angle, you are truly the fortunate ones and have hit the lifestyle lotto. Trust me, there are stacks of people from developing countries who would love to have what you ingrates whine about. Just ask an illegal alien.
Giles' whole article can be boiled down to: you live in America, hippies! You have clean water, working toilets, electricity, and food. Most of the world would kill to be in your shoes!
To a large degree, he's right, of course-- however that entirely sidesteps the point that OWS is making. The issue is not that the OWS are Christ-like refugees, it's about the comparative power and wealth inequality that exists in America. It's about pointing out that within the same country, there are some pretty major disparities. That's what the 99/1% mantra refers to. Saying, "to the rest of the world, the 99% is like the 1%" doesn't change the disparity; all it does it show that in a world where millions of people don't have clean water or toilets, the fact that corrupt business executives have bidets made of solid gold or go into convulsions when someone threatens to tax them for buying a new yacht or private jet is beyond gauche, it's downright obscene. You think you're scoring a point against OWS, Doug, but what you're really demonstrating is that the richest 1% and their defenders in the US really have no leg to stand on when it comes to complaining-- about pretty much anything.
Yes, I feel lucky to live in this country. I'd much rather live here than, say, Chad. But there are some serious issues happening right now with American society and culture, and the economy is a huge part of it. I was raised upper middle-class and went to private schools my whole life. I'm educated, my family is reasonably wealthy, etc. Since graduating, I've been stuck in a go-nowhere job for four years. I have friends who are in their late 20s-- privileged, educated, hardworking people-- who are still living in their parents' basements. They're being turned away from jobs they apply to because they're vastly overqualified for them. We are perfect examples of how the American economy continues to squeeze the middle-class into oblivion. At this rate, I'm probably not going to be middle-class. I'm probably going to be working poor. I've come to accept that-- but if someone with my education and background is facing the prospect of living poor, imagine what people who didn't have my privileges are going through.
An entire generation of Americans are finishing school, trying to join the work force, and getting the door slammed in their collective face-- and all the while, we keep hearing the super-rich screech about how unappreciated they are anytime someone talks about regulating the business sector or raising taxes on the only people that seem to be able to afford it. I'm not saying I want a Communist state, but clearly something isn't working here.
Sorry Doug, pointing out that other countries and other people have it worse is not an argument, it's a distraction. And it's a bad one, at that.