Spears: The truth in the “Occupy” movement

The View from the Opinion Editor

Especially in the generally-conservative South, many have been dismissive of the Occupy movement’s protests around the country and around the globe. News networks have portrayed the ridiculous nature of certain protestors, some more than others. Rarely can you find representative coverage. However, last week an even more surreal picture came out of California. Violence erupted in Oakland as protestors clashed with police. It appeared as something we read in newspapers happening overseas, but not here. It has been years since something like this happened in the United States — at least on this scale.

What does that tell us?

I think it tells us that there is something more to the Occupy movement than most people are crediting it.

When this sort of movement happens in the United States, it is indicative of a deep social problem. Income disparity is not something one immediately thinks of when considering this country. But the truth is that the United States is ranked between Ghana and Cambodia according to the United Nations Development Programme in income disparity. According to the CIA, in the United States the lowest 10 percent control 2 percent of total income and the highest 10 percent hold 30 percent. Whatever you think about the protesters and their message, this situation has become problematic — otherwise massive amounts of people would not be in the streets talking about it.

Whether you agree or disagree that this income disparity is a problem, the “99 percent” have made it clear that they are not going away and this conversation needs to be had.

Wes Spears is a junior religion major from Franklin, Tenn. He can be reached at wspears@samford.edu.

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