The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread across the country and in the process have captivated the media’s attention. But, more importantly, the protests coincide with what could be a broader change in American attitudes towards elected leaders and the policies they advocate. Unfairness combined with the corrupt motives of reckless financiers triggered a brutally harsh and oppressive economic crisis. The wrongdoers who caused the crisis accepted the government bailouts and then went on to become even richer. But what about the middle class? They were left to struggle because of the failing economy, with many losing their jobs and even their homes.
The results from recent polling show that President Obama’s standing on core middle class advocacy measures has greatly improved. The polls also reveal that Congressional Republicans are increasingly viewed as the party that stands behind and supports Wall Street. Moreover, while Republicans try to claim that the President is engaging in “class warfare,” most Americans believe that his policies are common-sense and provide further evidence of whose side he is on. Based on what the polls tell us about discontent amongst the masses, it’s not good news for the GOP members of Congress. It’s quite evident that many of them owe their very existence to the super rich in this country, and as a result they have little regard for ordinary folks.
The protests provided a new voice for folks who are disenchanted with the influence that corporate American has in our political process. Whether related or not, the protests coincide with a change in public attitudes towards elected leaders in Washington and the public’s perceptions of who is fighting for them. Republicans have tried hard to place President Obama’s policies out of line with the views of most Americans. But if we can believe the recent polls, their strategy has failed. For example, a recent ABC News poll gives the President a 20-point lead over Congressional Republicans on protecting the interests of middle class Americans.
Meanwhile Americans overwhelmingly believe that the Republicans are primarily concerned about protecting the interests of wealthy Americans. It’s significant that a whopping 70% of the American people feel that way. The bottom line – as I see it – is that ordinary folks are fed up with our political system and are not happy with what has been happening in our Nation’s Capitol. The partisan manner in which Congress has been dealing with extremely serious problems that affect the American people is unacceptable. It’s time for Congress to get down to work and – for a change – start to work for real people. That certainly appears to be the message being sent to Congress by the American people. But the question is – are the members of the House and Senate listening?
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