Most Americans are woefully inadequate when it comes to a real knowledge of our own history. When older Americans made references to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Bonus Army of 1932, many young people’s eyes just glaze over. There was a Bonus Army after the First World War and tens of thousands of unemployed men came from all over the country demanding the $1,000 bonus that the government had promised them for fighting in Europe. They were messy, they lived in tents but most of all, they were hungry and desperate.
The hungry Bonus Army of 1932 was driven from our nation’s capitol at army bayonet points at the command of General Douglas McArthur. It is one of those many dark chapters in American history. The camp was burnt and two of the demonstrators were killed. The whole story moved across the country in the weekly newsreels popular at that time and the view of the American people changed dramatically and McArthur and his men were booed.
Occupy Wall Street is not neat, it does not have a political structure to bring leaders to the fore. What it reflects is that the great majority of Americans, who have hardly been affected by this disastrous Recession, are sadly ignorant about the amount of suffering and pain that has been experienced by a sizable segment of the population. In addition, all the forecasts indicate that this situation is to go on for several years and the nation is doing nothing about it – nothing. Should anybody be surprised that people who want to work but can’t find it, who want to support their families but have lost their income, who have pride and dignity in themselves but are losing it by the humiliation that comes with poverty and destitution are angry?
Anger is not usually a productive response but sometimes it is necessary in order to spotlight a problem or weakness.
Wake up America.