The protests that have been underway on Wall Street for the past two weeks and the arrest of 700 protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday draw attention to a great injustice, the growing split between two societies: one that has all of the things that the American dream promises and so much more, and an emerging class of the dispossessed.
It was on Wall Street that the great speculative Housing Bubble was launched, given full flight, and then burst as if on cue. Millions lost their homes, millions more lost their jobs, and the resources of the people via the Federal Treasury were used to bail out banks and investment firms that knowingly sold home mortgages for profit that were worthless even before they were sold or were certain to be so when the high-risk behavior reached a climax.
The Constitution’s promise to promote the general welfare is not being fulfilled these days. We are ensuring the welfare of an elite that already has the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth. No one who caused so much suffering and the loss of homes and jobs has gone to jail, no one has been held accountable.
It is holding those people accountable when the government of the United States will not do so that spurred the protests in the first place. Now labor Unions, progressive public interest groups, and thousands and thousands of college students and young people who cannot find work have descended on Wall Street and much of New York to dramatize the deep injustice of a business community and now a government that refuses to move to do justice for the people.
President Obama has launched a new jobs bill and his Democratic Party has supported it. There is the promise of more but all of this has been blocked by a Republican Party that has placed defeat of their political opponents far ahead of the welfare of the nation as a whole.
And forty-six million Americans live below the poverty line with that number certain to grow when so few applicants for honest work are able to find it. Wall Street does not need these people any longer. Moving large amounts of wealth between nations and banks worldwide and investing it far away where returns on the dollar are greater because the workers there will work for a fraction of what they earn in the United States is now the norm.
The world’s dispossessed have been asking for months since the Arab Spring “where are the Americans?” They know that millions of Americans are in great distress and that the economic system is fully dysfunctional along with the government. They seek support. Greek and French and British protestors have testified to the failure of world capitalism.
It need not be that way. But those who make the great economic decisions that determine national destinies have become so distanced from the people they harm so much that market economies all over the world are troubled.
Instead of solving our problems and working as a united people to do justice, we excite ourselves by expectations of whether or not Chris Christie will come into the presidential race or not, or whether or not Obama can be re-elected, or who will win the World Series.
At this moment millions of people suffer and struggle to keep a roof over their heads, find food, get medical care and just continue on. Millions of workers of all ages wonder what happened to the nation they knew.
The protests on Wall Street in New York City takes the struggle right to the beast that is destroying so many lives. Foreigners impacted by the irresponsibility of a greedy plutocracy look to Americans to take the battle where they cannot go.
Two societies: one an elite group of plutocrats and their lackey politicians, and the rest, a mass of the dispossessed and jobless seeking justice and ready to realize again the “justice for all” promised in the pledge of our basic allegiance to the United States of America and “the general welfare” promised in the document that governs us all.