Thursday, November 17, 2011

The whole world is watching.

I wonder how many blog posts are going up all around the world with that as the subject (or at least as the prominent feature) of the post. It's true though. The whole world is watching what happens with the Occupy movement. Being in New York, I felt compelled to join the protests, but did not. I kind of regret not being a part of this great moment in history. My reasoning was that I was going to get work done. Instead I spent a good chunk of today mesmerized by my Twitter feed, the Occupy Wall Street webpage, and the most importantly the livestream video. It sounds so cheesy and lame to say that it warms my heart, but it does. It makes me truly happy to see people out there voicing what should be a concern for so many of us. If I didn't have to work tonight, I would have been on my way to Foley Square. Just to witness it all, to be a part of it.

There are a lot of people out there who don't understand what the movement is about. Really, I don't think they want to know. They'd rather just sit idly by and let everything carry on as it should. When people ask me if I am for or against the protest, I smile and answer that I am so for it. When prodded further as to why, I iterate that the Occupy movement is for people like myself and many of my peers. It is for my generation, the next generation, for every generation. They are fighting for change for good.

The people that make me the saddest are those that know they are part of the 99% and claim that they do not stand with us. I even read something today with a quote from someone that was along the lines of that person being okay with barely making ends me, struggling with ever-increasing debt, and having no light at the end of the tunnel. How? How are you okay with this?

I look at my life and my future. I did everything right. I went to school. I went to college. I did well. I went to graduate school. I went for more graduate school. I have applied for jobs, was constantly rejected (not even brought in for an interview because of the 300 something applicants, I didn't even make that cut), and eventually got a job waiting tables. My life plan originally (well, as of a couple years ago) included going on to get a PhD. Part of my decision to stray from this idea was the current economy. Funding for research based PhDs is decreasing while the lack of jobs is increasing the number of applicants. Even if I were to get a degree, the prospect of jobs is grim. I have since reevaluated (see previous post about law school), and yes, part of that was as a result of looking at what is feasible. As a counter to this, I offer the fact that I almost didn't go to college. I almost dedicated my life to being a professional ballerina. I didn't because I knew that I would have a longer and most likely more successful career in academics. Eight years later and I have the same job I had the summer after my freshman year in college.

And I'm okay with that. I was thinking today about how my morning consisted of me sitting on the couch, reading the internet, and eating Cheerios right out of the box. If I wasn't so confident in myself and my future, it could have been a depressing sight to see. I know I will overcome this year off from academics. I will return to the scene and get shit done. And the Occupy movement will hopefully allow for enough positive change in our country that it will be worth it. Hopefully those who work hard and do what was always taught to us will come out okay.

Last little tidbit before I go. I think one of my favorite things about the Occupy movement is how "occupy" has come to signify so many things. It is often used in a joking or even derogatory sense, but it's there. It has infected our culture. And that is what this protest is about. Getting people thinking and talking. Making people aware. It's step one. Whether people like it or not or agree with it or not, they know about it. They're thinking about it. They're talking about it. The conversation has been started and we will all keep it going.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree. I think the saddest part is people who don't understand the movement. The biggest misconception is that people want a handout. While I'm sure there are some who do, I have yet to see a sign, an interview, a chant or anything that has to do with asking for a handout. Of the people I know who support the movement, both in spirit and who have gone to the protests, not a single one wants a hand out. This depiction just makes it easier for people to pass judgment on a group that for whatever reason they don't want to affiliate themselves with. These people, or better yet I should say "we" as I stand with them, are not seeking a handout - they are seeking justice. They are seeking fairness. If America wants to continue to brag that it is the land of the free and of golden opportunities, then it needs to put its money where its mouth is.

    I don't know of anyone seeking a free education - they're seeking an affordable one that doesn't leave them crippled under debt until they are 40. I don't know of anyone, in the #OWS movement (the tea party is another matter), who doesn't want to pay their taxes - they just want the rich to pay their fair share as well. I don't know of anyone asking for a handout - they just want the promises that were made to them to be fulfilled.

    What promises? For one, that they can get a job. Note I'm not saying a perfect job that they've always wanted. *A* job, one that pays the bills without having to work 80 hours a week. Like the rights that have been afforded to the generations before us, the rights that workers fought and died for at the turn of the 20th century. When you have CEOs and CFOs and socialites making hundreds if not thousands of times more than their entry level employees...don't tell me there isn't money to create jobs. Furthermore, don't tell me the workers aren't qualified. While I don't have the stats to back this up, i'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that we probably have one of the, if not the, most qualified, trained and educated unemployed work force on the planet. Lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, architects, business people, etc. ALL looking for work. How can anyone say that is good for our society?

    #OWS is upset because the masses have been lied to for the private and personal benefit of the few. That is not justice and that is not opportunity. That is however a cause worth fighting for.