A question many of us ask ourselves is, “How can we wake up the masses to the reality of America’s decline and inspire them to action?” I can’t help but look back at the 60s and wonder what made that era so different. Hundreds of thousands of people of all racial backgrounds took to the streets during that decade to protest the Vietnam War, racial segregation and the prospects of nuclear war. Many were college age, but if you go back and look at photos of the marches you’ll find plenty of middle-aged and older citizens as well. Why not now?
One major reason is the state of the economy in this country then and now. In the fifties and sixties, a family could live a modest yet comfortable life on one blue-collar salary, as mine did. Unions were strong, wages were high and the post-war economy in America was booming. Students could attend college without having to bear the burden of soul crushing debt and a person without a diploma could still get a job that paid a living wage. There was a sense of economic security in those days that simply does not exist today, and people could turn their thoughts to issues beyond simple survival.
Today, the economy is anemic at best, income inequality is staggering and attending college requires tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Americans are struggling to survive economically and families need two jobs just to keep the lights on. Our lack of economic security is keeping us focused on getting and keeping our jobs to feed our families and avoid bankruptcy, and this is just fine in they eyes of today’s elites. They’re grateful we don’t have the time or energy to look behind the curtain and see what they’re really up to.
In fact, we are right in the sweet spot from the perspective of the .01 percent; not so bad off financially that we start turning our frustrations on our leaders en mass, yet not so well off that we can take the time to reflect on our situation and determine who’s to blame. And, best of all, our billionaires are raking in almost all the income that’s to be made in this economy. What’s not to love?
We’ll have a new President soon, and which way the economy goes will have a direct impact on whether the slumbering giant wakes up and begins demanding change.