There's a trend in this country right now, and a frightening one at that: acceptance of the status quo.
Hard work, dedication, paying your dues--these are all admirable qualities. But there's something fundamental about the OWS protests that these "Other 53%" folks don't get: No one is saying anything about those qualities. Not a thing. The rhetoric coming from this movement is the same used to demonize the poor--these protestors are lazy, they want handouts, to live off the system, to have everything in life given to them, etc. It's a classic ploy that Republicans use fully to their advantage, turning the tables on the poor as a way to take attention off the rich. Kick those already down, rather than those who are up (because, after all, that maybe cause things to trickle down).
OWS isn't about how hard someone works, or how many jobs they have, or what their student loan debt is--not fundamentally, at least. The message is about how the rules of the economic game get made. Because somewhere along the way (Regan deregulation, Bush tax cuts, Clinton's diving into the pockets of Wall Street, amongst other factors), the game became unplayable for some and dominated by others. These protestors, these are people who played the game as it was taught to them all their lives: go to school, stay out of trouble, work hard, and you'll have a stable life. But that's not the case. Because instead of creating jobs for these people to obtain, these heads of industry have shipped them overseas, they've cut work forces in the effort to maximize unnecessary profits, they've driven down wages and destroyed unions. This is about power, how the people who control capital in this country have amassed wealth through the its wholesale purchase. They've created their own rules, laws, and system to ensure that they can continue to horde and take risk, and never with consequence.
But that's getting a little off point, to be fair. The thing I wonder is what kind of life are these Other 53% people promoting? One of 70-hour work weeks for the better years of your life? Of no vacations? Of constant fear of getting sick because you can't afford healthcare or to miss a single day of work? Like I said, I admire hard work, I truly do. But that's no life I want to live. If this is indeed the greatest country in the world, everyone is entitled to an honest wage for honest work. And they're entitled a slice of their life for leisure, for family, for arts, and culture, and books, and seeing the world. All the things that make life worth living.
Curtis White, in his book The Spirit of Disobedience, told a story about how he'd get angry letters, irate letters, from people expressing indignation over the fact that, as a college professor, he had the opportunity to take occasional sabbaticals to research, write, and explore his interests. Letters would come in, asking "why do you get to do this?" White replied, saying, "I think the better question is why don't you get to this?"
So, to the 53%: your traits are admirable. But you're missing the point, both of this protest and of life in general. We're here to live, not live in servitude.