It’s always nice to wake up and see the very thoughts I was writing last night trumpeted in the Sunday Review of the NY Times. Nick Kristof cites many of the same statistics I did to make his case that income inequality is not only real, but “a cancer on our national well-being.”
But where he ends his column wondering whether the movement will persist “once Zuccotti Park fills with snow and the novelty wears off,” I believe things are only going to get more intense as we move into this winter of discontent.
For one thing, there’s climate change looming over us. Check out today’s big story on the fact that this imperative issue has lost traction in the U.S., even as most of the rest of the world is moving aggressively to regulate carbon emissions and develop more sustainable technologies.
It seems that the elites driving our economy believe that we can continue our comfortable insulated ride in the plush American Caddy, and let the plebes outside the walls of our national gated community deal with the unpleasantness.
How quickly we forget the major blizzard in New York City last year, or Hurricane Irene bearing down on the whole East Coast. Climate change is only going to intensify in the coming years unless we get serious about it fast. The natural disasters it will cause will cost far more than action to curb emissions proactively.
Unlike Nick Kristof, I don’t believe our society has a choice about whether or not to change. We will be changing, like it or not. The question is, will we change in an orderly fashion, through regulation and innovation that puts the common good ahead of the greedy goals of the men behind the tinted windows of those chauffeured limousines?
To me, this is what the Occupy protests are about. The 99% are sick and tired of shouldering all the costs of our industrial capitalist way of life–the debt bondage, the toxic chemicals making us sick, the decimation of our environment wreaking havoc with our climate, the fading of the American dream–while a few fat cats sit pretty on top of the heap and enjoy the spoils.
I have news for you, global elites. You can’t escape the impartial justice of climate change. You should have realized by now that you will reap what you sow: if you seed our agriculture, air and water with toxic chemicals, you and your children will get cancer just like the rest of us. If you continue to deforest the Earth at the current rate, you too will be gasping for oxygen along with the poorest inhabitants of what used to be a boreal forest.
Come on out into Liberty Plaza with the rest of us, and let’s work together for a better life for all–while there’s still time.