I only speak for myself and don’t purport to know the motivations and aspirations of the protesters at Wall Street, but if I were among their ranks, the following would be my clearly stated goals of the protest:
I want to live in a nation that respects and rewards a person’s contribution to society fairly and justly. I would like to earn enough money to pay off my student loan debt, save for retirement, have access to adequate healthcare, and send my children to college, not feel at the end of the month as if I have to choose between food and gas. I would like to know that my contribution as a professional educator is respected and appreciated, not just by my students and colleagues, but by society as a whole.
I want to live in a nation that holds corporations and CEO’s accountable for moving jobs overseas and hiding billions in profits offshore to avoid paying taxes. I’d like to see CEO’s punished for bankrupting companies, not compensated with multi-million dollar severance packages. I want companies to be held accountable if they poison our water supply, make our air unbreathable, taint our children’s toys with lead paint, contaminate our food supply with lethal bacteria, or in any other way recklessly endanger our lives in the name of profit.
I want to live in a nation that once again embraces innovation and ingenuity and doesn’t allow other countries to outpace us in technological advancement.
I want to live in a nation that respects all people who are willing to work full-time, regardless of occupation. There is dignity and honor in contributing to society, whether that be as white collar, blue collar, or red collar. All jobs are important, and anyone who is willing to work and be productive should be viewed, not with cynicism and disdain, but with appreciation and admiration.
I want to live in a nation that embraces diversity and respects everyone’s rights to freedom. Liberty is our birthright, guaranteed by our Constitution, and these freedoms are granted to all citizens of this country regardless of sex, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or any other artificial stratification created to keep us divided and bickering. We are all American citizens, born with certain unalienable rights.
I want to live in a nation that celebrates and aspires to greatness, not promotes and rewards mediocrity. Not so long ago, our music, our movies, our books were the best in the world. Today, we create paper-thin melodies with no soul, recycle worn-out franchises, and cheer poorly written, cliche-riddled narratives. We have half-baked reality shows rewarding talent-less jackasses and washed up celebrities. We promote buffoonery and incivility, while creative geniuses play street corners for handouts.
I want to live in the America I was promised as a child, a land of freedom and opportunity, a place where if you built a better mouse-trap, the world would beat a path to your door. Today, if you build a better mouse-trap, Corporate America and government bureaucracy will trample your aspirations with a myriad of confusing regulations and a maze of overbearing documentation, stifling your innovation in name of preserving the status quo.
Those would be my goals for the protests.