We've all seen news about various Occupy movements around the country and the term class warfare has been tossed around by the likes of Speaker of the House John Boehner and others. Now generational warfare is the latest, as the Super Committee admits failure to come to consensus. Anyone who's surprised by recent events hasn't been paying attention.
For years Americans have arrogantly believed it was their right as citizens of the U.S.A. to build wealth and flaunt it. In fact, they felt they were entitled to it. Can't actually build wealth? Hey, it's OK. Just borrow money and pretend you have it to spend. It's what the U.S. government does. Instead of learning values from their parents, many American citizens learned them from a government that has continued to pretend it's still a superpower in the world. They learned from celebrities who ask for more and more for doing relatively little. They bought into the false belief that everyone who lived on U.S. soil was, for some reason, inherently entitled to wealth and "the good things" in life.
Is it really surprising then that when everyone came crashing down to earth, when reality finally set in, that people would be angry? The economy has failed. The losers are those who bought into the pretense of living beyond their means, those who simply wanted to have a piece of the American Dream of owning a home, and those who were unlucky enough to work for companies or government agencies that felt the need to begin massive layoffs to balance budgets or build reserves. In the meantime, people who have remained wealthy, those who actually had plenty to lose and still float in the deep end of the luxury pool, are living their lives as they always have; however, they're now perceived as the new super villains, along with government and corporations.
It was inevitable. Life as many people knew it was going to change, and not for the better. If people didn't see this coming, they were lying to themselves. I'm not an economist or a great world thinker, but I had conversations with people years ago about how it was all going to come crumbling down one day. It was inevitable.
I'm not going to delve into who's right, who's wrong, who needs to see the light, who needs to back off. I'm just surprised by the number of intelligent people who watched the same news I did, saw the same things happening in our country, and didn't see that one day we would be a country at odds with ourselves. Republicans vs. Democrats. Rich vs. poor. Insured vs. non-insured. Those with homes vs. the homeless. Well fed vs. the hungry. Baby boomers vs. Generation Z. The list goes on. The only thing I can't look into the future and see is how it's all going to end. I wish I could.
We need to look at ourselves, that includes me, and ask what our part in all of this is. We need to look at ways we can concretely create change. It isn't by pitching tents and sitting on sidewalks, waiting for a rogue cop to pepper spray us. It's by closing our wallets to big corporations and supporting our local small businesses. Transferring our money from big banks to local credit unions. Researching candidates and items up for vote before we cast our ballot. And actually following through and casting that ballot. Perhaps we need to remember the values our grandparents and great-grandparents had; those that focused on family, friends, and earning an honest living - not material possessions. Maybe we need to get back to the basics.