By Kyle Allen
As Americans watched the collapse of their economy and their livelihoods, many asked: what happened to the America of lore? What happened to the America our ancestors created, the greatest and most powerful nation in the world?
What happened? We stopped playing as a team. Beneath the surface, that’s what Occupy Wall Street is all about. While some may call it class warfare, “Occupiers,” as they’ve become known, see their movement as a way to revitalize the American Dream. This movement, at its core, is a call for Americans to live for the success of one another, in the way that we did during America’s golden age.
As we all know by now, these “99-percenters” claim that the top 1% of income earners control a hugely disproportionate size of the national wealth. Occupiers have good reason to fear; according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, over the past 30 years, the top 0.1% of earners have seen their income grow nearly 385%, while the bottom 90% of earners have seen their income drop by 1%.
Due to a tax code that increasingly favors the economic elite, a vast majority of Americans rightfully feel they are being left behind.
Beyond the economic issues, Occupiers have in Zucotti Park in New York City set up a system of government that shuns voting in favor of consensus-building. They’ve created an experiment in 21st century civics that is organized, tame and benefits everyone. Can their model work on a national or state level? Probably not. It can, however, inspire people to live their lives a little bit differently, to abandon a focus on amassing personal wealth in favor of doing what is right for their friends, family and neighbors.
This is our generation’s calling: to work for each others’ success. Some might strike this idea down as socialist or Marxist, but more than anything, this is an issue of morality.
While Occupy Wall Street may vanish in name with winter’s onset, its central ideas cannot if Americans want to return to the economic glory of the mid-20th century.
It is imperative to realize that at the essence of this movement is a demand for brotherhood and sacrifice, for Americans to do what is right for their fellow Americans, not what is right for themselves.