America’s Overdue Awakening


Throughout the Obama administration we saw a government willing to boost the economy (not always effectively), first through rampant federal hiring, then through various stimulus packages like TARP and the Affordable Care Act. What we constantly heard from the administration in response to the resultant sluggish growth rates, usually falling short of 2%, is that we were waiting for investment from business leaders. This includes capital expenditure, long-term project investment, and hiring (especially at higher wage). We also saw big businesses making record profits for multiple years, post-recession. Rarely have we seen corporate balance sheets as healthy as they are now.  So why are we still missing these wage increases and investments?  It is because big business has been sleeping.

$1 Big business is long overdue for its current response to the travel ban and other executive orders. Business leaders have banded together to combat the ban because it directly impacts their business. Where were these businesses when the country needed them to step out and invest in the American people? While we often look to the government to solve problems when there is no investment, the Obama administration and the average person should have demanded action from business leaders much sooner. Training, retraining, and better recruiting is overdue and still lagging. No longer can the most educated generation allow companies to say that there is not the trained workforce available to fill these vacant jobs.

$2 Lawyers, women, and entrepreneurs are very welcome faces to the public spectacle. ACLU has been instrumental in challenging President Trump’s travel ban and we saw several other lawyers camping in airports in solidarity with those affected and willing to represent them at a moment’s notice.  Cab drivers led a temporary symbolic strike in NYC and the general public was very vocal in its disagreement with Uber about its position on the issue.  We saw the AMAZING women’s march following the inauguration where the number of attendees outpaced inauguration attendees by at least 3-to-1 (in fact, it was the second biggest D.C. metro ridership to Obama’s ’09 inauguration). Whether you are sympathetic with the causes or not, those that embrace the basics of public discourse as a basic element to guiding our democracy, it is refreshing to see so many get out and take action.

$3 The biggest group, Millennials, are probably more likely not to have voted in this election than not, but are seemingly aware now how necessary their (read: our) involvement is. I may be limited in my social sphere, but it seems that the current political atmosphere is a bit appalling for young democrats and conservatives alike. The stifled congressional chambers, the rampant unemployment and severe underemployment among young adults, student loan debt, climate change and drying social security funds are just a few major issues that affects this group that are not being very well addressed by those in charge. Upstart movements like Run For Something are direct responses to the ills of current-day politics and the lack of representation from the largest generation alive today.

What I have captured does not give justice to the mass movements we are seeing in our society today, much of which is owed to this current administration. As polarizing as our president (and Hillary for that matter) has been, I am thankful for this massive shift in awareness and activism. Here’s to hoping this movement continues in some constructive direction for the good of our nation and future generations.

-Joe

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