What OWS Taught Me About Bringing People Together

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

All my posts up until now have been about how people over the age of 50 have been discriminated against in the job market. While I stand by that, I’ve come to a realization.

The last time I looked at the statistics, from April, laid off workers 34 and younger had a 36 percent chance of finding a new job within a year. Those in their 50s had a 24 percent chance of finding a job within a year.

Neither statistic is very good.

While it is my experience that the younger person is still more likely to get a job more quickly, things ain’t that great for people under 50 either.

I now understand that it is not “us” against “them.” While I do think human resources departments do tend to stick the resumes of those over 50 on the bottom of the pile, I understand that there are a lot of people of all ages who are hurting right now. There are a lot of people who can’t find jobs.

The real problem is that there are not enough jobs, period. Those companies that should be hiring are either sending the jobs overseas where they don’t have to pay decent wages or are laying off workers to improve their bottom lines which are already incredibly profitable.

Now, almost four years in to looking for a job I’ve decided my only choice is to start my own business.

A lot of other people have made other choices. More and more of them have chosen to protest the corporate and political decisions that have lead to the  inequality of resources that have lead to the dire circumstances so many of us are facing. And it started with the young people. People we were willing to write off as an entitlement generation. It turns out they care about more than just themselves. They care about each other. They care about their country. They care about us all.

So they occupied Wall Street; then main streets all across America. They held up signs demanding justice. They started petitions. They inspired people of all ages to get out and let everyone know how badly they are hurting. People of all ages. People from all walks of lives. Veterans, teachers, union members, the unemployed, some employed.

Their steadfast refusal to be limited to demands that could be comprehended by the media and to the politicians that would destroy the movement is admirable. They have left room for the many stories, for the many problems begging for solutions. There is something so fundamentally wrong with this country that it can’t be summed up in a list of ten demands or talking points. The needs are so dire and so diverse, who can speak to which are the most important and which needs to be addressed first?

So no longer are we alone in our pain. We know that others are in the same situation and in those numbers we know that we are not just railing against the wind. We will not fight amongst ourselves. We will fight with and for each other. Witness Occupy Foreclosed Homes.

America’s financial and political structures have chosen to reward greed over people. And I’m proud of those who focused so much attention on the problem; those supposed spoiled little brats who don’t care about anyone but themselves.

We will not accept the notion that it is us against them.


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