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Focus on ‘fat cats,’ top one percent misses real social injustices in society

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Click the link above to listen to the audio version of this column

By Rohan Keith Andresen ’12
The Roundup

For the last few months, the United States has been introduced to a stream of domestic protests called “Occupy Wall Street” in solidarity for the plight of the “99 percent.”

The protesters, mainly students and younger Americans, believe that they make up the 99 percent of Americans who have been tread upon by the wealthiest—and therefore most powerful—one percent.

They also point to a growing gap between the top and everyone else.

They blame the economic turmoil in the United States on the greed and selfishness of the one percent who are stepping on everyone in their quest for more money and power.

It is not difficult to look at recent actions of people like the Madoff family and the Kardashians and consequently develop a pit of frustration in your stomach.
These are, undoubtedly, upsetting examples of greed.

However, the problem with the protests lies in the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of the protesters’ “plight.”

They believe that they are the forgotten and marginalized 99 percent.

The question to ask, though, is “since when were we supposed to sympathize for the average Americans?”

Has American become so close-minded that we no longer take the rest of the world into consideration?

Even in our current economic crisis, the United States remains one of the richest countries in the world with one of the highest standards of living.

If you want to see the true downtrodden 99 percent, look to the congested streets of Calcutta where lepers are forced to live in the gutters or simply of our Gulf Coast where the dilapidated nation of Haiti still sits forgotten and in ruins.

It is not the top one percent we should worry about, but the bottom one percent.

These protests are just a further indication that many Americans—especially the younger generation—represent solely their own cause.

It is true that some recent capitalistic endeavors have turned into despicable schemes and injustices throughout the economic circles of the United States.

“Fat Cats” leave their plush Wall Street offices to one of their various homes to repose in a modern decadence that is known to very few in the country.

When looking at this, the Occupy Wall Street protesters do not seem to have such an absurd message.

It’s understandable why they despise the wealthy’s seemingly frivolous and easy lifestyle.

So they protest how it’s not fair.

They blog in Starbucks about the widening gap between the poor and the rich in the United States.

They go out to dinner with their friends and discuss the corruption that plagues Wall Street.

Then, they go home and take a hot, immediate shower and fall asleep surrounded by the security of America’s free and inherent decadence that they have taken for granted.

So we must take a step back to examine the protest, and think again on who really is the 99 percent?

Updated Jan. 17 with audio version

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    Barrett AmesJun 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Hear Hear, Sir!

    Good perspective that is missing outside the Jesuit circle.