Ok, I’ll admit it, I have become fascinated with the Occupy Wall Street movement. This huge gathering of people intrigues me because they could have a part in changing the direction of our country. That is, if they had a direction themselves.
So last Saturday I decided to go downtown to Legislative Plaza and check out the Nashville version of OWS and try to figure out what these people are all about.
I arrived with the intention of interviewing some of the protestors to find out who they were and what they were all about. But as I hung out for awhile to get a feel for what was going on, I began listening to some of the conversations people were having in a gathering where participants introduce themselves and tell why they are there to protest.
I heard stories of foreclosure, job loss, and credit card/student loan debt. I even heard one woman talk about overthrowing the government and then dismiss it as a pipe dream.
They blamed the government for their problems, they also blamed Wall Street, they blamed big business, the health care system, and every other large entity they could think of that they feel powerless against. These people were obviously frustrated.
Then I met a young man (I won’t use his name) who walked up as I was listening and asked what they were doing. I told him about the introductions and we began a conversation about why we were there. He began expressing some of the same concerns with the same large entities as the others we were listening to. He said, among other things, that big business was out of control and that all politicians should be voted out of office.
Everywhere I looked and listened, I heard blame.
Then I asked my nameless friend a question I don’t think he’d even considered before. I asked him if the Average Joe should carry any of the blame for the shape that America is in financially.
After all, I said, it was us who took out the student loans, ran up the credit cards, and took out the zero down mortgages on houses we couldn’t afford. Big business could not have done it without our participation could they?
When I asked him this he paused to think for a few seconds, then he said “no”, he didn’t think that individuals share any responsibility in any of this. He said that big businesses and big banks were the ones to blame because they made all that credit so easily available.
When he said that I had to make a conscious effort to keep my jaw from hitting the polished granite of Legislative Plaza. I didn’t let on that I was completely shocked by his response. I kept my emotions in check and we continued to have conversation about his education, his difficulty finding a job in his small town, and his credit card debt (for which he asked my advice about how to handle it).
But as we talked, I couldn’t help but keep thinking to myself, “Does this guy really think that people who are deep in debt have no responsibility for it?”
I wondered if the other Occupy Wall Street participants in Nashville and elsewhere felt the same way.
If we are totally helpless against these huge companies foisting huge amounts of debt upon our families then what chance do we have of succeeding in life? Seriously, have we become puppets that are completely controlled by the puppet masters of government, Wall Street, and big business?
I SAY NO!!!
This is America, where we still have the freedom to choose.
WE have the freedom to choose whether or not we are enslaved by student loan, car, and credit card debt.
WE have the freedom to choose whether we spend more than we make.
WE have the freedom to build an emergency fund to help out in case things go badly for awhile, and to suffer the consequences if we didn’t.
WE have the freedom to resist taking out a zero down interest only mortgage on a $300,000 house when we only make $40,000 a year, even if the mortgage broker says it’s ok.
In America, we have the freedom to fail, to make bad decisions, and to suffer the consequences of those bad decisions. We also have the freedom to grab ourselves up by our bootstraps, admit we need to change some things and do what it takes to correct them.
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Yes, the government and large banks do need to change some things, and its up to us to make sure those changes happen.
If a bank, a business, or a politician is doing something you don’t like, then don’t vote for them and don’t do business with them, and let them know why you are withdrawing your support.
As far as I can see, Occupy Wall Street is not going to accomplish much, if anything, because generally, it seems to be made up of a group of people who don’t really have much of a direction in their own lives.
Proverbs 24:33, 34
“A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
They are letting life happen to them and complaining about it rather than being proactive. They are spending their valuable time whining instead of getting out there and grabbing life by the throat, wrestling it into submission and bending it to their will.
As free people in a free society we cannot be complacent and expect to succeed. It just doesn’t work that way, and it never will!
What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Here are a couple of additional posts on the subject you might like: