Why Occupy?

Everyone probably knows by now about the nationwide spread and worldwide support of the Occupy Wall Street movement that is demanding that our government and our economy work for all of us, not just our country’s wealthiest one percent businesses and people. Some of you might be thinking, "I'm well off, so the system is working just fine for me." Well, while researching to see where I fit-in in this picture, I gathered some facts that reveal the importance of a movement like Occupy, as well as enough reasons to justify why our current system is not working for anyone (not even the one percent irresponsibly getting gluttonously wealthier at everyone else's expense), why you ARE part of the ninety-nine percent, and why you should support this movement or be independently active for change.

How the one percent is being irresponsible and putting our health at risk to make a quick buck

We've now come to understand that the decisions that caused the USA's foreclosure and unemployment crises as well as the near-collapse of our entire economy are the product of a quick-buck approach to commerce. That same approach has lead to the creation of economic incentives, even tax rebates, for companies regardless their values or social responsibility, even for those who contaminate our air, food, water, and consumer products with toxic chemicals; even for those that earn profits from cheap sweatshops' labor from other countries, including child labor, while the country is going through the highest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression and that labor could be USA made. In other words, our current system is basically giving powerful corporations, not only a pat on the back, but also a blank check to make unethical choices advantageous only to their pockets, including developing new chemicals and exposing people to them, regardless of the known and unknown health effects of those chemicals. So our nation’s wealthiest one percent profit from corporate decisions that promote the rampant use of untested and known-toxic chemicals, while the remaining ninety-nine percent of us are forced to live with the consequences of those decisions, such as increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and many other illnesses,[1] and from meeting the consumer needs of North Americans with cheap inhumanely-made foreign-made consumer goods that could be better-made here supporting our economy and creating jobs.

Money is really riding US friends.

But now you know this movement is not just about money, but also about our value system.

What do people value most in the US?

Lets look at the top ten wealthiest companies in North America:

1. Wal-Mart
2. Exxon Mobil
3. Chevron
4. ConocoPhillips
5. Fannie Mae
6. General Electric
7. Berkshire Hathaway
8. General Motors
9. Bank of America
10. Ford Motor

Cheaply-made manufactured items with cheap labor of sweatshops in other countries, petrol (toxic and outsourced), crooked financial institutions still living off a lifeline from the federal government and who put us in this situation in the first place, insurance companies, car companies that get financial aid from the federal government while owning private jets for their "corporate" commutes... If you look at the top 50, you'll find too few health-related companies and none of quality healthy foods and goods.

Lets go back to the country's health. Aside the illnesses mentioned, the statistics of people being treated for anxiety and other conditions related to the nervous system in the United States are outrageous. The citizens of this country are working too hard for very little pay so that the one percent can live an easy breezy lifestyle of excess from the hard labor provided by the ninety-nine percent.
While it takes most upper/middle class families long hours away from their families and a lifetime to pay for one home (maybe a vacation home on the side if lucky), average one car per household member, and are barely able to provide a decent college education for their children; the one percent own mansions, buildings, islands, private jets, yachts, multiple luxury cars (drivers), belong to country clubs, are able to send their children to private prep schools, have advantages to get their kids to the best colleges, have vacationed all over the world staying in the five stars hotels and eating at the five stars restaurants (yes, they are the ones that can afford those luxuries we all dream of), they might even be the investors in the over-priced housing the upper/middle class spend their lives working excessively to pay for; you get the drift. In the mean time, our national health care system remains weak, our economic system collapsed, schools are closing everywhere, cuts on funding for education increase, college fees rise, our health risks are off the charts, and the one percent keep getting economic incentives and tax refunds! Does that seem fair? I mean, if at least you were working hard to pay for quality, for healthy, for a fair piece of the American pie, but no, your labor has been paying to eat the one percent's crumbs.

So as you can see, this country is in urgent need to sit down and re-think a new set of values and work towards a more sustainable and just government and economy for all.

Occupy Wall Street is an attempt to peacefully but united establish a long-overdue conversation about the income disparity, corporate excesses, and the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power that threatens our democracy and has drastically reshaped our economy over the last forty years. It's an attempt to draw attention to the dangerous and unprecedented concentration of wealth and power that now threaten not only our economy and democracy, but also our health. And it's also a movement inspired by the undaunted optimism and confidence of a growing multitude of smart, passionate citizens who are committed to making our economy and our government work for everyone.[1]

Even if you don't want to identify yourself with this or any movement, there are personal choices you can make to start improving this national goal of revitalizing the health of our economy, such as supporting your local merchants and farmers, by say, buying groceries at Farmer's Markets for instance; walking/biking more, not relying so much on gasoline or even electricity to commute; recycling, composting and taking better care of your environment; supporting your local public educational institutions; withdrawing your assets from big banks and moving them to small, locally run banks or credit unions that support your community; becoming a greater part of this efforts in your city etc.

This movement is PRO-America. Because those that say it's anti-America are really saying that America is unhealthy, greedy, selfish and it's only interested in dirty irresponsible money, when it doesn't matter how much money and technology a country has if the people who live in it can't lead stress-free quality lives rid of mental and/or physically illnesses. This movement is not a class warfare, it's an all-inclusive attempt to heal our democracy, and a terrific opportunity to examine our values as a country to be able to work towards a just, sustainable, and truly healthy economy for all.

References:
1. Center for Environmental Health.


Update 11-17-11: Found this video:


Update 11-21-11: Occupy Love

View these documentaries to understand how the health care system in the United States works and how it can be improved.

Interesting related stories:
Op-Ed on why the financial system collapsed (a different angle)
America's Brain Drain
Watch documentary Dying to Have Known
Watch documentary Fuel
UPDATE 7-2012:
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