Traveling between New York City and Washington over the past weekend has given me a chance to see two of the many protests that are currently taking place around the world. The Manhattan event is impressive as to its size and the D.C. one is surprisingly small.
What most of them are lacking is a coherent message that could be a call to arms for people of all ages. I have seen signs complaining about the 1 percent of the population that may or may not be paying their fair share of taxes. Other signs are upset with life in general, but there is no common thread that unites the participants and from a distance it appears that the gatherings are made up mostly of malcontents.
As a senior citizen who has had a chance to see the outside world through clear glasses, there are numerous issues that are ripe for discussion and are being ignored. The protestors in Washington should have been screaming about the Republican Congress, who in their desire to make President Obama a one-term president, are sitting around the Capitol doing nothing.
The taxpayers are entitled to a Congress that passes job creation bills and works overtime to restore America's belief in the future of the country. Instead we have a handful of members of Congress who want to vote for meaningless bills and would prefer to shut down the United States and then go back to their districts and declare victory.
Those twenty-somethings should be out there talking about their staggering college debt and the fact that no employer is willing to give them a low paying start-up job to help them be self-sufficient. Their parents, who slaved to help with tuitions and room and board, should be on the street reminding the world that they are entitled to a reprieve from the close daily combat with their still-unemployed and idle children.
The small businessman who can't get a loan after years of sterling credit has a legitimate gripe against his banker, who is finding new ways every day to shut down the credit market. Instead of passing Tea Party-inspired legislation, the Republican House members should take sharp aim at those banks that got TARP money and make them loosen their purse strings for the next year plus.
Potential home buyers, who have good credit and cash to spend, should be camping out at Zuccotti Park telling the press their stories about senseless denials of mortgage funds from their banks. It is one thing to deny a mortgage to a couple that can't put up a proper cash deposit, but its' another thing to stick it to qualified buyers.
There is no doubt that new technologies have succeeded in cutting down the number of people it takes to perform basic work routines at the major American companies. But protestors should visit the companies that are sitting with billions in unspent cash and find out why they no longer have any obligations to the country that made them cash.
If the park sitters need more support they ought to enlist the services of the families that are being denied health coverage for some arbitrary reason at a time they are faced with a terminal disease. You don't have to search too far to find a person or family that is getting the shaft from their insurance carrier.
That march up Park Avenue last week to the homes of Rupert Murdoch and Jamie Dimon didn't prove a thing and was a waste of the marcher's time. On top of it there were more New York City policemen assigned to the detail then there were protestors. So the effort raised the tax bill of both rich and poor New Yorkers and fell flat.
Like it or not the recent Arab Spring demonstrations had meaning and purpose. America's weeks of anger haven't hit the raw nerves that such events should pierce. Playing on an old theme, a protest demonstration is a terrible thing to waste.