Monday, October 17, 2011

Why Occupy Wall Street's Message Is Important

This is a follow-up to an earlier post, America: Land Of Opportunity No More.

My generation, the baby boomers (I was born in 1957), often complain that young people are socially and politically dormant, only interested in the practicalities of life. This movement, "Occupy Wall Street", shows otherwise (Perhaps a better name would have been "Reform Wall Street," but it's too late now for the change.)

The young are not only socially aware, but are active and operating with a clear moral conscience on an issue that has great significance for us all. The powerful banking elites, for example, would love to dismiss it as mere noise, and make it go away by any means possible. The last thing they want is a light shone on their affairs.

As long as the persons part of Occupy Wall Street behave according to the principles of democracy, that is voice their concerns and protests against the status quo in a peaceful way, which has been the case so far, they will carry the day—having the moral right on their side. It might take long, but it's worth remembering that no fight worth fighting, and this one is right on principle, has been easy.

We hope that their message is heard in the corridors of power. A reform in the system that will induce fairness in the fiscal and economic policies of the United States first and then other democracies, Canada included, will be a victory for democracy everywhere.

We as citizens who value and cherish the democratic principles and traditions will be better for it. The young people, who by their actions are showing the world that they want change, and a change for the better. All courage and respect to them.

A final note: If anyone thinks that this is a fringe movement of malcontents, think again. It has the moral assent of Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, both Nobel laureates in economics (See here and here). In the end, it all comes down to “Democracy,” to quote Leonard Cohen, a poet and singer/songwriter whom I admire and enjoy, and who hails from Montreal, my hometown.

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