Sept. 17 was the three-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Whatever you thought of the movement's strategies or success, its wondrous and flawed idealism, ask yourself this question: Has anything Occupiers protested improved in the past three years?
- The bankers, lawyers and other white collar criminals responsible for our economic collapse have not been charged, let alone convicted of crimes.
- Income disparity continues to rise, with the average corporate head earning hundreds, even thousands times more than their average worker.
- Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and other oppressions continue unabated and largely unregulated.
- Our diet has become more genetically modified and our environment more polluted.
- Labor unions continue to be assaulted, no living wage is in sight and health insurance remains a target of the "haves."
- Jobs remain scarce, and students continue to graduate from college with decreasing hope and increasing debt.
- Corporations are being treated more like people, and people are being treated more like disposable commodities.
- Our reckless policies regarding campaign financing have created a government owned by the tiny elite they are supposed to be regulating.
- Our blind pursuit of war abroad has now expanded onto our city streets as paramilitary police gun down unarmed, innocent civilians.
- It has become increasingly easier to buy a gun than to vote in some states.
As the original statement of the Occupy Wall Street movement said, we as one people united must acknowledge that the future of humanity requires that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to us to protect our own rights; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We continue to live in a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.
The embers of the Occupy movement still glow. Perhaps the time has come to reignite the flame. While we wordsmith and squabble over pennies to aid the poor, the wealth of this great nation is being drained by a new monarchy as trickle down economics has become flood upwards economics. A people united cannot be divided. North Carolina is showing us the way with its Moral Monday movement. Perhaps the time has come for every state and for all people to unite and exercise their rights and responsibilities as Americans to reclaim the moral center of our country.