You have awakened the sleeping giant, too long dormant but ever present, deep in the American democratic spirit. You have given voice to the unspoken feelings of countless others that something has gone terribly wrong in our society. And you have sparked a flame from the embers of both frustration and hope that have been building, steadily, in the hearts of so many of us for quite some time.
Throughout history, that task, which sometimes means saying and doing what others only think, has often fallen to young people. You have articulated, loudly and clearly, the internal monologue of a nation.
Some of you have told me that you expected only to foment a short-lived protest and that you were as surprised by this “movement” as anyone else. While there are some who may misunderstand your motives and message, know that you are an inspiration to many more.
One of you told me in New York City that you are trying to build something in Liberty Park that you aspire to create for our global village—a more cooperative society. I asked one of the non-leaders who helped lead the first days of the Occupation what most drew him to get involved, and he replied, “I want to have children someday, and this is becoming a world not good for children.” It is precisely those deepest, most authentic feelings and motivations that should preoccupy you.
You are raising very basic questions about an economy that has become increasingly unfair and unsustainable for a growing number of people. Those same questions are being asked by many others—even by some at the top of the economic pecking order. Keep pressing those values questions, because they will move people more than a set of demands or policy suggestions. Those can come later.