Although I do understand the premise and I support the idea of protesting capitalistic greed, I feel that everyone forgot a few things in the process. Asking corporations to stand up and take responsibility means that we also need to stand up and take responsibility. Too many of us, I include myself in this category, overextended our credit. We were too happy to accept the offer of instant gratification, while having no real option or repayment. Understanding that our own personal greet propelled the corporate greed, and vice versa is a reality that no one wants to accept. Accepting that we are just as responsible for the financial situation is the first step to freedom.
I speak from experience. I too was caught up in the credit trap. I have paid a very steep price, but I have also recognized my folly. I have not used credit, other than student loans, since 2000. I lost a house 9 months after I signed a loan with WAMU. I could blame them for extending credit, but I knew the moment I signed that I was not going to be able to afford it at the pay I had at the time. Then the worst thing ever happened, I lost my job. I could not even get a job at McDonalds. It seems that a Bachelor’s degree creates a barrier to any minimum wage, labor position. I was initially angry, I was so angry I thought I wanted to die. I also blamed WAMU, my ex employer, even my ex-husband, who had no part in my purchasing a home a month after we separated.
I continued to have financial difficulty, until I moved to Seattle. When I moved here, I realized I could not count on anyone but myself to help support me and my children. I learned to live within my means. I have myself budgeted to the last dime. I do, have some spending money, but when that money is gone, it is gone. With my current medical bills, it puts a cramp on my spending. I would love to go out every weekend, but under my current financial responsibilities, I am constrained to once a month or so. So my challenge to those that Occupy WallStreet, I ask are you taking responsibility for your own actions? Are you asking corporate America to do something you are not willing to do yourself? If so, then your requests are invalid.
Another question I have for you, are you screaming about corporate greed and tweeting from your smart phone while drinking Starbucks? Does this not strike you as contradictory? Do you still have an account in a big corporate bank? The reality is your actions speak louder than all the occupying that you do. Move your money to a local bank or Credit Union, then you truly get the big bank’s attention. Creating change needs to be painful enough for the corporate world to feel. Buying only things you need and challenging the current system is my challenge to you. Stop buying into the corporate greed, focus on local and sustainable choices. Big food, big banks, big business they are all the same. To truly occupy Wall Street, you need not camp on the street, but simply change your own purchasing habits. Occupy with your money and you will see your demands for accountability heard with much more attentive ears! We the people have the power, we simply need to choose a new path, with the numbers of people in the 99% the 1 % will hear us, when we unify and choose to change our values.