To the founders, freedom of speech was deemed one of the most cherished freedoms of the new United States.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I think whatever your political persuasion, we can all agree with the right to freedom of speech. Even if I disagree with the message, I like seeing that right exercised whether it is a Tea Party gathering, speaking out against big government, or a group of young adults protesting on Wall Street.
A couple years ago, Tea Party protesters were just average citizens upset with the government's out-of-control spending. The protesters dressed in patriotic colors, and wore tea bags symbolizing the revolt that took place at the Boston Tea Party centuries back. The young people protesting on Wall Street have spread to capitol grounds, courthouse yards and college campuses across America. They are dressed in trendy blue jeans and t-shirts, blogging and taking pictures with their iPhone or iPad.
Whether or not you agree with the purpose of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I hope you see some of the irony in what they are doing. The ironic part of this is that while they are protesting, they are wearing clothes created by big corporations and using devices created by companies like Apple to communicate their message and share photos. Apple’s stock trades for well over $400 a share on Wall Street, and the recently deceased visionary and multi-billionaire, Steve Jobs, was the kind of person they are protesting. Yet, like me, many of them probably were saddened by his passing. Jobs was corporate America, and Apple will continue to be a shining example of corporate America for years to come.
I blogged last week about success being a bad thing. Jobs is a prime example of someone who came from nothing. A boy who was given up for adoption, made his own way by having an idea and busting his tail to succeed. He saw failure and success becoming better after both.
I'm curious which side would Jobs be on - the side of the protesters who want to destroy the rich, or the side of big business that actually creates the jobs that allow these young people to work? These jobs allow them to buy their designer jeans and t-shirts, and Apple iPhones and iPads. It is hard to say, because Jobs was as much a protester and outsider as he was part of the establishment.
No doubt there are those on Wall Street who have taken advantage of government policies to create wealth for themselves at the cost of others. The few who have milked the system are not representative of the entire Republican Party. Yet the leaders on the Democrat side of the aisle and President Obama will play it off as if all Republicans are this way.
Most Americans realize that "hope & change" was just a tag line, and nothing more. Occupy Wall Street might very well be Obama’s new hope & change. He can’t run on his failed record and, like it or not, whatever you think of the previous eight years with George W. Bush in office, this is Obama’s economy. He too had a massive bailout program for Wall Street, extended the Bush tax cuts and put forth policies that these Occupy Wall Street protesters would be against. Since Obama can’t run for re-election on this, he will attempt to run as the outsider, the anti-Washington candidate, and the blue jean-wearing, iPhone carrying protesters will buy it. Just as I implied last week, class warfare, or success warfare, is a tool used by those on the left. And apparently to those protesting, success is a bad thing. They blame those who have had success, those who have created jobs and helped create wealth for all of America.
Poor Steve Jobs. I hope he isn’t rolling over in his grave.