THE DEATH OF PROTEST MOVEMENTS

There are two important distinctions between the protest movements of the 60s and today. First, according to studies, Americans have 20% less free time today than back then. Also, personal saving rates in the 60s were around 10%. So, having less free time along with less savings to fall back on makes for a more difficult protest scenario.

One need only look at pictures of race tracks and baseball stadiums of the 1950-60s and look at those same arenas today. According to some data I collect, about 1/10th as many people attend those venues today.
According to the Center for American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, “In 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.
In those years, a man or a woman could join a movement and the children could still be cared for. That is no longer the case.
When all adults are working (single or with a partner), that’s a huge hit to the American family and free-time in the American household.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average is over 12 weeks of paid leave anywhere other than Europe and over 20 weeks in Europe.
In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.
Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. I am sure all this has had an impact on the protest movement but it’s rarely mentioned.
In Latin America, when there’s an injustice, a cause célèbre, people gather, in the thousands, tens of thousands, in front of government buildings to protest. They basically shut down the country until their voices are heard and the government acquiesces. They have nothing to lose, nothing left for the government to take from them. America is really close to that event horizon. But until U.S. citizens perceive themselves as having little to lose, such movements will languish.

My political commentary is meant to bring a heightened consciousness and real discussion to people intent on changing social, political, and economic conditions. Politics as usual is destroying our Democracy. Government corruption demands real political change, not just a new candidate in the old system. Political leadership only leads to self-serving agendas and self aggrandizement. Politicians eschew social causes for personal enrichment. Political power corrupt morality and rationality. The result is criminal behavior and Constitutional crimes.

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