Occupy This, Wall Street

In 2008, my friend bought me an Obama shirt as a New Orleans souvenir. I was definitely an Obama fan but I’ve never been one for political worship.

You show me a politician, I’ll show you someone who makes compromise a lifestyle — Obama or otherwise.

Not that all compromise is bad, but sometimes you gotta fucking stand your ground, only that doesn’t happen in American politics anymore, not in a way that benefits the average person.

I’ve been unhappy with the Obama administration because I’d hoped for more. I’d hoped for someone who would inspire while he led, who’d bring the passion of those campaign-trail speeches to daily life.

And I’d hoped for an American people who demanded more, who got involved, who wanted changed, and who’d be there to make the change.

Then nothing changed.

For 2.5 years, I’ve worn that Obama shirt inside-out, and only while housecleaning. I think that’s my own private way of making a statement. I don’t hate him, I just didn’t get the leader I’d hoped he’d be. Still, ain’t Bush.

For three years I’ve been frustrated at the lack of passion in America, how everything’s been one glib joke after another, but somehow there’s a wall between the reality of people’s homes and jobs evaporating, and the pompous otherworldly life of the 1% that sucks up so much of the airwaves’ time.

Photo by Nancy Edlin, shared publicly on Facebook.

Fuck Kim Kardashian’s wedding, Mr. News Anchor.

For years now, I’ve been angry, frustrated, and felt like I’d been ripped off and oversold. First eight years of Bush, then three years of this tip-toeing through ethical landmines that Washington has become.

In the early days of Occupy Wall Street, I thought “Yeah, nice gesture, but let’s see how long that lasts.”

I’m flabbergasted at the rate at which it’s starting to catch on. Stunned that the Billionaires’ Club is now defending its earnings and politicians are saying “Let’s not acknowledge them.”

The tide is turning. It’s an immovable force. It seems like the anger I wanted people to feel is finally there, that they’ve finally attained a sense of entitlement to a good life and a slice of the vaunted American Dream Pie.

There are so many sayings going around behind the #OSW protests. Like, “I believe in the separation of corporation and state,” and “I’m not opposed to capitalism; I’m opposed to corporate greed.” Yet so many seem to just not get it.

But they will.

The media has begun to realize #OccupyWallStreet might be the verge of a bold new era of an involved electorate, an angry populace, and the beginning of the end to this neo-feudal society that has arisen.

There’s one area in which the 1% are our equals: They only get one vote.

So, then. Who gets that vote?

Not a clue. Give it time. Hello, Darkness– do ya got a voice crying out in there? Who?

Remember, the French Revolution only took three years for the peasantry to overthrow the monarchy and the bourgeois. It took three years to plant the seeds for a way of life we’ve enjoyed for 220 years.

220 years? Democracy needs a facelift. She’s looking a little punchy. And now we have social media. Think of soc-med, like Twitter and Facebook, as the microwave-cooking of revolutions: Gets cooked faster than you ever hoped!

And business? Time for an overhaul, but mostly in the financial sector. I don’t give a fuck about Coca-Cola, I care about Goldman-Sachs.

Last week, when Steve Jobs died, even people I’ve long respected made ignorant comments like “If the the Occupy Wall Street protestors had their way, there’d be no Steve Jobs.”

What the fuck you talkin’ ’bout, Willis? I choose to own an iPhone, I don’t choose to have the economic world collapse due to speculators. I’m fine with Apple being Apple, Jobs having been Jobs. That’s business, not personal.

What I’m not fine with is executives like John Paulson taking a half-billion-dollar bonus because he THINKS he speculated well on finances (but then loses 40% value the next year). Steve Jobs took ONE DOLLAR A YEAR in pay, so don’t tell me he’s in the same class as the Wall Street Fat Cat Assholes who seem to think $500,000,000 is a good year-end bonus.

Their mistakes crash the world. Their successes have been few and far between for years. A little objectivity might help.

I’m lucky if I get a $500 Christmas Bonus, because I live in the real world and work for a small company, like most average joes/janes.

Between the stupidity of the finance industry in the United States — which is a world different than Canada’s, where we’ve never softened legislation, banking is healthy, and people still get loans — and the broken electoral system, it’s gonna take a big, long, noisy protest to wake the entire country up to just how stupid things have become down south.

There are massive issues in countries all around the world, because we’ve watched the relaxing of ethics in power in America and it spreads like a fungus, because America’s influence on the world is unparalleled.

Within their own borders, I find Americans don’t understand why it’s so important to the rest of us what happens there, and why we get so invested in their inability to demand true change from their leaders.

But it’s really, really simple. America is the house of cards we’re all built upon. They come tumbling down and the whole world’s financial network goes boom. Even Canada, where it’s sort of a healthy economy due to our regulations, has felt the pain from America’s missteps in recent years.

These are dark, difficult days. Change is needed urgently, globally: fairness in finance, representation in politics, equality in legislation, and people’s voices being truly heard.

What we need is a government with balls, a government who realizes there’s opportunity in saying, “Hey, you, hedge fund — go fuck yourself. The public want what we got.”

As for Obama, I’d seen a speech he did on the early days in the Iraq war, and he was so prescient that I thought “A man with this kind of future vision, he needs to be leader.”

And every day since his administration began, I’ve had one West Wing/Aaron Sorkin-inspired wish: “Let Obama be Obama.” I’ve wished he’d raise the level of debate in America.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. After all the partisan bickering, the forgetting that there are real people who depend daily on issues politicians are supposed to resolve, after all the water under the economical/political bridge, Obama’s a guy that’s a faint shade of who he promised he’d be.

Well, that oversold dream and those glossed-over half-truths, they’re old, and we need something new, Obama & Co.

PS: Let’s remember, too, that a Vancouver, Canada company kickstarted the whole Occupy Wall Street Movement — Adbusters announced the Occupy Wall Street event back in July and tried to drum up support. I wonder what their editorial office is like these days, as the movement takes hold globally.

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