Last Thursday, we saw people flooding The Strip in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. And in marching on Las Vegas Boulevard, Occupy Las Vegas showed tourists a different face of Vegas, a face of Vegas they’re not used to seeing on this street run by casinos promising nothing but hedonistic fun. Instead of that, tourists caught a glimpse of “The Real Vegas”: the unemployed, the working poor, the struggling students, the struggling seniors. This is the side of Vegas that LVCVA would rather not advertise. But in this rare moment, reality came crashing down on fantasy.
Why? It probably doesn’t help that despite economists marking the official end of “The Great Recession”, household income continued to fall nearly 7%. No matter how much we say the recession is over, for many Americans, and a whole lot of Nevadans, it rages on as they live in fear of losing everything. But in the last couple of years, that fear has been turning into anger. In the beginning, “Tea Party, Inc.” was hoping to co-opt that anger and direct it at “LIB-RULZZZ!!!” But now that Occupy Together is offering a non-corporate alternative to the “tea party” corporate front groups, people are realizing they now have a chance to redirect their anger at the forces that really caused this mess.
Yet even though Americans are becoming angry over the increasingly muted economic recovery, Republicans in Congress continue to block President Obama’s American Jobs Act while pushing instead for even MORE UNEMPLOYMENT! Yes, you heard me right. As the G-O-TEA demands even more public sector firings, it only offers to worsen our economic situation by increasing the unemployment line.
This is why Americans are angry, and this is why Occupy Wall Street may become more than just one protest. People want jobs, but Congress does nothing. People are feeling ignored. Even while the 99% suffer, no one cares as long as the top 1% continues to prosper. Though people are demanding real economic solutions now, all they’re seeing on Capitol Hill is more bickering about policies that do nothing to help formerly middle class workers.
This is why Americans are angry. They feel like the system is broken. And really, can we blame them? Can we blame them for being angry at Koch Industries buying as much “free speech” as they want with each upcoming campaign while they were continually ignored?
So can we blame these people for taking to the streets? And can we blame them for wanting to send a message to the corporate powers that be by occupying the very symbol of American capitalism? And can we blame them for doing the same to Nevada’s own version of this?