I’ve been watching the Occupy Wall Street protests with interest for the last month or so. Watching, because one of the blessings I have is a job. And also I live in Podunk, population 3 people who would be into OWS and 30,000 who would just go on about their day and call the OWSers dirty hippies. (I know, I know – excuses, excuses, right? but seriously. Podunk is GOP-land.)
My idiot friend believes that the OWSers are arbitrary in their anger against the 1%, considering that even the 99% here in the US still have more than 90% of the rest of the world. I believe that argument is a derail of the flavor: “stuff is worse other places, so you should be happy you’re not there, and fix those things first before you complain about here.”
Meanwhile, a website called slaveryfootprint.org can tell you how much slave labor contributes to your normal daily life. Take a quiz and find out “how many slaves work for you” (my # is 46). Except there’s no tangible way to free them. Apparently, you can download an app on your phone and then email companies that use slave labor to express your displeasure. There’s really no easy answer on this one. There is so much that we use here that at some point had human rights violations attached, it’s quite difficult to handle untainted material.
So even though it was a derail, my idiot friend has a bit of a point. OWS isn’t wrong. But we need a parallel, global OWS. The haves are continually putting their humanity above that of the have-nots. I do this myself. How many times does my lazy behind not do something for someone/some group simply because I don’t want to get off my keister? or come up off a couple dollars, a bit of time, and some elbow grease?
I’ll admit that because of my privilege, my favorite way to help out is to just throw money at a cause. It’s something I can do with minimal effort, and it generally does make a difference. Sometimes I find it to be the more sensible response, as the economy of my flight to some poverty stricken area for a week versus me donating the price of that plane ticket. This is why I disagree with short mission trips to the Global South. Sure, folks get a glimpse into life somewhere else, but they don’t get much done, and they spend a gajillion dollars to end up building a hut, when that money could’ve built a whole hospital, and given people jobs.
Anyway, the plight of others doesn’t eliminate the current situation in our own country: a growing dichotomy between the ruling 1% and the working 99%. If you start looking at charts and graphs about when the disparity really took off, they all point to the early 80s – and Reagan. And yet, we currently have GOP candidates who revere Reagan, but are actually much further to the right than he was.
I’d like to be a little more clear on what I can do to stop contributing to what I do not want to support, without losing my job. I hope that’s the next phase. Because what are you going to do with a bunch of guilty people? Other than desensitize them to it so they can enjoy Thanksgiving whole-heartedly.
Because compared to some, I really was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. And I should do what I can for those who have no spoons.