This Occupy Wall Street movement is morphing into a huge critique of our health care system, burdensome student loan debt, and the lack of jobs.
They are giving voice to real people facing real problems that have not gotten enough attention from the mainstream media. Check out this interview of a protester by a Fox News reporter.
This may not be a political movement with policy solutions or even a clear idea of who should fix these problems. But I don't care. I'm just happy that people are giving voice to serious problems.
Health insurance. We still have yet to get a dollar from our health insurance company for all of Ian's speech therapy for 2011, even though by law, they are required to pay for it. We're talking thousands of dollars. A lot of my friends are freelancers who don't have health insurance. One family pays a thousand dollars every month for blood pressure medicine.
Student loan debt. We'll be paying off student loan debt for useless graduate school degrees until we're ready for retirement. No kid starting off life should be saddled with $80,000 in student loans. Another friend spent two years getting a teaching degree, which ate through most of her savings, and couldn't find a teaching job.
Unemployment. We're lucky. Steve has a job. If he lost his job, we would be royally screwed, since all I'm qualified to do is stack sweaters at the Gap. Because I'm not earning money right now and Steve's salary has dropped by a rather substantial amount, we're making less than we did three years ago. Still, I would be an ass to complain. We're lucky. However, a good number of my friends aren't. If they are employed, they are looking a stagnant or decreasing wages. Their homes — their sole investments — are worth less than what they paid for it. They are driving around in patched up cars and avoiding the phone calls from creditors.
This movement probably won't get too far. I'm just happy that these people are getting just a minute or two of attention. If I can kick this cold, I'll join them on Thursday morning.
UPDATE: So, I just read this devasting account at The New Republic about chuckleheads who are actually on the streets downtown. It's a stark contrast from the sober, real messages that I'm reading on blogs like this. Wouldn't it be funny if a bunch of fruitcakes helped jump start a real movement that isn't really happening on the street, but on the Internet?