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Letter to the Editor: 11/3/11 (1 of 2)

I would like to address Mr. Levine’s op-ed in the Oct. 31 issue of The Times-Delphic, in which he argued against ideals perpetuated by the people participating in the “Occupy Wall Street” movements.

Levine seems to think that the top 1 percent earned the “right” to their staggeringly full bank accounts by working hard, coming up with new ideas and contributing to the American economy, as if America is a country where everyone is born with equality of opportunity.

While there are arguments to be made concerning the entrepreneurship of top business executives such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Levine’s editorial completely ignores the fact that economic class in this country has been built on centuries of racism, sexism and classism. To say that the people controlling a disproportionate amount of wealth did not come to their status by being born into privilege and exercising that privilege throughout one’s lifetime, and to paint CEOs as plucky kids who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps is woefully simplistic and speaks to the ignorance perpetuated by opponents of the OWS movement.

Ben Levine also seems to miss the point entirely of the OWS movements.

It is not a hoard of petulant hippies who are “envious” of powerful businessmen. It is a group of citizens who are livid that while wealthy CEOs earn millions of dollars a year, there are people in this country struggling to provide basic health needs for themselves and their families, who can’t find jobs and who can’t pay the mortgages on their homes. They are incensed that corporate power dictates public policy and undermines the very democratic process that we are told since childhood is an integral part of the American way.

So if you are to speak of class warfare and morality, Mr. Levine, speak of the wealthy white men that wage war on women’s health, on the public welfare of the urban poor, on the single parents that can’t buy university education for their children and on democracy as a whole, all in the name of accumulating and keeping wealth. This is why Wall Street will continue to be occupied until we see an egalitarian distribution of resources and no sooner.

– Maren Hokanson

Hokanson can be contacted at maren.hokanson@drake.edu


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