I was 16 years old when Richard Nixon took office in January, 1969. In the ten years prior to his inauguration ceremony, the boomer generation was overwhelmed about every facet of the economy. The 60′s was a decade filled with a great deal of unrest, change and violence.
It was a time when the country’s morals and mission were being questioned and/or changed:
- The music industry was quickly transformed from a genre dominated by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Perry Como, to the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead.
- An interest in healthier living saw the rise of health food stores and the adoption of vegetarian diets.
- The political landscape was completely overturned. There were riots in every major city.
- The country began to accept and recognize the value and contributions of African Americans and women, and the rights of “Mother Earth” (which lead to the creation of Earth Day in 1970).
- Americans even questioned their relatively short (by today’s standards) participation in a costly and bloody war in Vietnam.
Youth seemed to be threatening to change virtually every aspect of the American culture. As the media focused on the rallies and the events and violence of that period, the “Great Generation” toiled in the background continuing to build and live the dreams that came out of the terror of World War II.
Richard Nixon called them “The Silent Majority.” These were good Americans who were patient, law abiding, and worked! In Nixon’s opinion the “thugs” on the streets were not only un-American, but they were a small minority that were getting a disproportionate share of media attention.
So I got to thinking today…
- Is there a NEW Silent Majority out there today?
- Are the protesters and the Occupy Wall Street movement a group of disaffected, jobless Americans that have nothing else to do?
- Do they represent a minority of Americans?
So I stopped by the movement website and watched the videos of the protest in Times Square. There were Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennials. All generations.
The OWS movement is being careful about espousing specific demands. This is drawing sympathy and support from a broad spectrum of Americans. In fact new polls are showing that as more American’s understand what is going on, the OWS movement is gaining support. In today’s fractured political system, any kind of organization that can build a majority voice is a mind boggling milestone.
OWS is rapidly becoming something that is giving voice to everyone’s dissatisfaction with employment and our economic and political systems. Meetings in Zuccotti Park in NYC and around the country are giving a voice to anyone with concerns.
- Worried about student loan debt? Meet over by the flowers.
- Have a problem with the war? Meet over by the steps.
- Interested in space? Go to the two trees on the south end of the park.
- Worried about nuclear energy? Sorry, limited space: meet by the curb on the street!
It’s a movement for everyone.
Perhaps a movement for the NEW Silent Majority.
The OWS movement could very well be giving a voice to this decade’s silent majority who are growing dissatisfied with our political system, the concentration of power/wealth and non-job creating wealth on Wall Street, along with a society that is having to work harder to get less.
For me, it seems a bit of deja vu and I love it! Which brings me to a future blog post: We’re going to look at how and when this movement storms your college campus!
Share your thoughts!