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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/28/11

If Obama Doesn't Want to Lead the Revolution - Young People Will

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Thirty years ago - Ronald Reagan led a counter-revolution in America against the revolutions of the New Deal and the Great Society. It was a counter-revolution that ripped our economy from the hands of the middle class....and handed it off to the wealthiest corporate CEOs and Banksters in the world - letting America's oligarchs run the show. 
Now - thirty years later - we know how that counter-revolution turned out - and the backlash  - or revolution - against Reagan, and subsequent Presidents who carried on his principles, is underway. The Streets of lower Manhattan are buzzing today with America's next generation of leaders - young people in their twenties - who will inevitably determine the direction of this nation - but first - must wrestle back power from Reagan's oligarchs who work on Wall Street.

This is what the Occupy Wall Street protests are all about - an economically and politically lost generation of Americans who - faced with unemployment and debt - have chosen to change the game rather than accept the status quo - to dismantle Reagan's revolution rather than find jobs within it. After all - what other choices do they have? 
The poverty rate for young families under 30 years old is a staggering 37% - the highest ever recorded in the history of this nation. Student-loan debt topped credit-card debt for the first time ever this year - more than a trillion dollars - as more and more college graduates enter a a job market that doesn't have any jobs. The unemployment rate among 20 to 24 year olds today is nearly 15%. No jobs, no benefits, no life, no American Dream  - the economic situation for today's young people can only be described as dire - and therefore many of them feel that they have two choices - live on the streets - or take to the streets.

These young men and women - most of whom were born during the Reagan presidecy - and have no recollection of him and his policies - were unable to protest the tax cuts he pushed for the rich that created the massive wealth inequality we see today. They were unable to protest the deregulation on Wall Street he and his counter-revolutionaries supported, which set the stage for the market collapse three years ago - and the crime of the century known as the Bush Bailout. They were unable to fight against the free trade policies that led to the outsourcing of good American jobs. They weren't of age to have a say in the direction of this nation 30 years ago or even 15 years ago - but they are today. And as the effects of all these disastrous policies are plaguing the first generation of American born in Reagan's United States - the long overdue protests have begun. 
Reagan's chickens are coming home to roost. Bolstered by a viral video of a rogue police macing law-abiding women over the weekend - "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators are standing strong - and are spreading their message throughout the nation. Over the weekend - demonstrators in Los Angeles launched their own "Occupy Los Angeles" movement, and plan to take their camp to City Hall this weekend. Similar demonstrations are planned for Chicago - Denver - Detroit - Cleveland - Boston - Philadelphia - Seattle - Kansas City - Phoenix - and our nation's capital - Washington, DC. This is the start of something big - the start of a revolution.

This is the revolution that they - and even older Americans - hoped for when Barack Obama pledged to "fundamentally change the United States and the world" when he was elected President in 2008. But so far - this pledge has been unfulfilled. Turns out - Barack Obama was not that much of a revolutionary. But ultimately - it was never about him - it was about us - and in particular it was about the young people - because all revolutions - even Reagan's - don't originate from one man - they originate from the people - from the bottom up. From Jefferson to Lincoln - and from FDR to Reagan - these men who presided over great changes in America didn't create revolutions - they simply seized control of a nation pregnant with revolution and oversaw the transformation - and in some cases guided it. If President Obama discovers his inner revolutionary and steps forward with that voice and message and behavior, he'll get re-elected - and then he will have to carry forward with a revolution. 
On the other hand, if President Obama doesn't want to be a revolutionary - if he doesn't want to take on the banksters - if he doesn't take on and actually reverse Reagan's counter-revolution - that's fine - because the young people assembled in Manhattan - and all over the nation - will. 

It's already started...

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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