Herman Cain represents the viewpoint of many conservatives in America who see the Wall Street protesters as people who are simply jealous of the success of rich people. Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone at the protests, but I am a far left wing socialist, and so that has to carry some weight! In my opinion, these protests are not about jealousy at all. I oppose Wall Street, and I oppose the gross inequality of our United States. But it is not because I want more money. I’m happy and content. I just question the common notion that we need to have a wealthy set of elitists at the top dictating our national policy, determining the economic course of our nation, and deciding who deserves to have things like healthcare, education, and housing.
Conservatives tend to think that “the market” is a neutral force, outside of human control – an objective and righteous arbitrator of economic justice. This is what many wacko protesters like myself disagree with. That’s why people take to the streets. The market is controlled by the wealthy, they profit from its success, but the consequences of their abuse and greed are shared by all.
This isn’t a protest to get handouts from the government. It is a protest against a system that depends on the wealthy. It is a protest to take back economic power.
When Herman Cain, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservatives look at the system, they see a system that works for anyone who works hard. For some, it works this way. However, for others it doesn’t. For those it does work, it is easy to be naive, to pretend that any poverty and suffering is caused because people are too lazy or just bad people.
Sure, there are some people who can claw their way out of poverty. I just ask a simple question: why does the system have to work this way?
When I look at a society, I think that everyone is equal and valuable, and that their economic value should reflect this. A greeter at Wal-Mart has the same human value as a broker on Wall Street. Why should one be denied healthcare? Certainly, a person who works hard should have greater compensation than another, but this should only produce a small amount of inequality. Some inequality is good, it keeps us honest and working hard. The kind of inequality that Herman Cain defends, however, is the kind that produces powerful billionaires on the one hand and ghettos packed with poverty, gangs, and drugs on the other. What I want to say is that if we defend this kind of extreme poverty and as a society we do nothing, it hurts us all. If we deny healthcare to only those who work for corporations, and we leave some people to fend for themselves, it will come back and hurt us all.
If we truly believe that everyone is equal, then in some way, we need to reflect this as an economic reality. That’s what these protests are about. It’s not about jealousy or fleecing the rich. Not for me.