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Calling Out Corruption, An American Past-time

By Christina Stein
Opinion | October 7, 2011

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Life can get boring if you are afraid of having character. Raising a little hell can keep your spirit in check with your mind. Experience breeds character.

Wall Street protests have been going on for several weeks. Scanning the pictures and crowds, I see many young people. Could it be the next generation is turning off their Facebook and getting involved? So much for tune in, turn on and drop out.

Many of these young people involved went to College with the expectation of a decent job. After they graduated they found they were taking jobs much below their pay grade with a looming college debt, waiting to fall atop them. Sixty-five percent of college grads have college debt when they graduate. Many of my friends depend on the good pay their parents make to help them make ends meet.

When these college grads are unable to find employment they have a lot of time on their hands. They have time to stir things up and make a little noise.

America is changing.

Decent jobs are hard to find.

The America our parents lived in isn't there. Many jobs don't offer 30 years and out. Politicians are bankrupting Social Security. Our generation cannot count on Medicare, and many jobs don't offer health insurance as a retirement option.

Many communities depend on the income of a retiree. All of our jobs depend on the income of others. Economics 101, the middle class must have extra money to spend, this creates demand, demand creates jobs.

I suppose I can't lap down the purpose of the Wall Street Protests into a bumper sticker, but to sum it up, things aren't fair. "Walmart CEO Michael Duke's $35 million salary, when converted to an hourly wage, $16,826.92 per hour. By comparison, at a Walmart store planned for the Windy City's Pullman neighborhood, new employees to be paid $8.75 an hour would gross $13,650 a year."

While Michael Duke is making that income, we the tax payers are paying for his employees. Take a look at the data.

Attitude is what is left. American's have always had a little spunk and fire to make things better. We have fought for what we have.

My generation (if I am still included amongst the youth) have all but forgotten a pension wasn't given, a living wage wasn't given, a middle class life wasn't given. Our parents and grandparents sacrificed and fought the corrupt political system to get these opportunities.

Young people are no longer fooled with the corruption on Wall Street. Eyes are opening and with ferocity. As a friend of mine stated, "There are more people that have been arrested at the Wall Street protest than the actual Wall Street crooks responsible for the economic collapse." I might say, eyes are opening on both sides. The American public has been quiet for quite some time.

In the words of Kurt Cobain, "The duty of youth is to challenge corruption." And that they are.

For those who have said my generation never stood for anything. Take a good look. There are thousands out there and thousands more in support.

For those that still complain, I must say, nothing has given me a greater chuckle than parents complaining about the generation they raised.

America will rebound and so will the middle class. Thanks to a few characters and hell raisers who aren't afraid to call out corruption. After all, isn't that what America was founded on?


3 Comments

Christina,

I hope you are right. Unfortunately, I'm am beginning to lose my faith. When Jon Stewart compares the Occupy Wall Street movement to Bonaroo, he isn't wrong.

It saddens me to say, but one of the worst moments in recent politics was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which was signed by Bill Clinton. I'm not sure that most of the protesters have even heard of it.

I hope these people are informed, but I fear that they are just angry about their circumstances more than the issues the nation truly faces.


Good for you. The previous commenter is right about ramifications of repealing Glass-Steagall. Clinton, whose philosophy was to make the Democratic Party more moderate (corporate friendly) did sign it but it was passed by a Republican Congress. The real cave-in is to money, and the focus of the moment should be in defeating the 5-4 SCOTUS decision in "Citizens United" which turns on the faucet of corporate money full blast into politics. Both Democrats and Republicans will be cozying up to "where the money is." (One little tip: in your title it's not "past-time" but pastime. No serious fault, but distracting.) Best wishes, and keep at it.


Bob, I chose to read her title to mean it is past time for Americans to call out the corruption in business and our government.

Christina, public protests have been going on since the recording of human history. Our nation was founded with the inspiration of protest movement leaders and participants. With the exception of our first 10 amendments, most amendments have come about as the result of public protest to start the momentum.

The Bible even indicates that God changed the course of history, due to individual and public protest and pleading.


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