I have been silent as these Occupy protests have been taking place, not only at Wall Street (the root of it all), but around the country including Greenville, SC, my adopted hometown. The reason I have been silent is that everything I’ve heard people say is what I have been writing about for the last seven years. I really don’t have much to add. I was planning to go to DC but my family was dead set against it.
I take over 12 medications a day and can’t afford a hotel room at this time. They were afraid I’d get too caught up in what was happening there and forget to take my medicine and end up as a casualty. Probably in my heart of hearts, I believe they were right. Knowing myself, I probably would have left in a stretcher. 60 isn’t that old, but with a heart bypass and being a recovering Cancer patient, maybe I erred on the right side for once.
I’m 60 years old and I feel just as proud of the people at the barricades as if they were my own children or Grandchildren. This is their time and I don’t wish to steal their thunder. The reason I’m writing today is because of what I see happening to this idealistic movement. There are very powerful and intelligent people that want to stop us. They don’t wish to just stop us, but as the movement gets larger, they want to control us. Just as the Tea Party was co-opted by the right side of the GOP, the Occupy movement is fair game for the pseudo-liberals within the Democratic Party. Move-On, political leaders and others have already made overtures towards the Occupy movement. As if we really need them, like Jesse James needed that picture hung on the living room wall.
The media, after ignoring Occupy Wall Street for a week, was keen to break their silence and ask what it was that we believe in. When they received a plethora of answers, they regaled in the different answers they received. They laughed at the protestors, telling the MSM that they “had no real agenda.” To those that know nothing, it could very well appear that people indeed had no unified cause.
Even so, that is their strength, not their weakness. Their prime motivations for taking to the streets are not just political issues. They are practical and moral issues. The demonstrators have many issues. When a reporter asks a group of protestors why they are protesting, odds are that ten different people will give them ten different answers Here is but a few reasons they have given:
1. The top 1% holds more wealth than the bottom 95%.
2. We bailed out the banks and Wall Street with anywhere from 800 billion dollars to over 14 trillion dollars depending what figures are used.
3. Banks are STILL NOT Lending to small businesses.
4. The infrastructure is still not being rebuilt.
5. The Federal Reserve is still printing money and providing loans to foreign banks, with no Congressional oversight.
6. Unions are being dismantled piece by piece.
7. Student loans are increasingly hard to come by and are loaded with skyrocketing interest.
8. The Middle-Class is still seeing its yearly income drop while the bankers and those that work for the largest financial institutions are seeing marked increases in their yearly income (including bonuses).
9. We are fighting wars for resources all over the World for profits. The Defense budget is exploding.
10. We are assassinating Americans abroad along with foreigners suspected of working with “Terrorist’s” without due process.
11. We are supporting the worst kind of regimes on the planet providing that they work in our interests.
12. We are killing civilians with unmanned aircraft without any kind of congressional or moral oversight.
13. We are fomenting a war between Iran and the U.S. based on circumstantial “hearsay” evidence.
14. We still don’t know how 9/11 happened and who was involved.
15. Republicans and Democrats are calling for the end of entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
16. Republicans (and some Democrats) want to lower taxes on the top 1% in spite of huge disparities between the rich and the poor.
17. Universal health care is being compared to a totalitarian form of government, even though the majority of industrial nations have it.
18. The U.S. is the leader in the incarceration of its own citizens.
19. We continue to use depleted Uranium, napalm, and cluster bombs on our enemies despite the fact that these weapons are clearly in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
20. We have a political system that allows the top 1% of the people being allowed to dictate who will be the candidates in upcoming elections.
These are just a few of the problems we face in America. I have been writing about these problems for almost ten years. It is only lately that people are finally starting to understand what this nation is facing. Writers such as Noam Chomsky, Stephen Lendman, David Swanson, and others, just to name a few, have been regularly sounding the clarion for years.
There is only one way to change the current political paradigm in this nation. Going to the polls and electing the candidate of their choice will accomplish nothing. With the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporation and investment houses to provide unfettered money into the political campaigns spelled the death of our democracy (whatever was left of it, I’m loath to report.
I’m heartsick, but I feel a stirring of hope that I haven’t felt for many years. I sincerely believe that sanity is gradually creeping into our consciousness. For so long I felt that when I wrote an article I was “preaching to the choir” and said as much. I felt Paul Craig Robert’s pain when he wrote that he could no longer keep writing about the loss of our American experiment in a different way of governance because people were no longer interested. I’m glad he didn’t give up.
We can’t give up either. We have no choice. This is not America, at least not the America that they taught us to believe in so long ago. I don’t remember the debate that gave the Federal government or the President the power to take a human life without any legal justification. Killing someone for what they believe in, as long as they don’t take a life themselves, isn’t something that’s written into any law that I’ve ever read. Sending aircraft into a sovereign nation to destroy a nation’s infrastructure while snuffing out the lives of others sounds like something out of a bad horror movie.
That’s just the half of it. While killing people in cold blood and calling it “collateral damage” as we have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Central and Latin America is barbaric, so is cutting the wages of ordinary citizens of our own country especially when Mothers and Fathers can’t keep their children fed and properly clothed because something called “Free Enterprise” has reduced them to paupers.
These useless eaters that drain the economy and take the American dream out of the hands of those that are accustomed to “the good life” seems to be the real crime in America today. Taxing those that make over $250,000 a year seems to be the most terrible thing this nation has ever proposed. Over and over we hear that taxing the rich will mean that those that hire average Americans won’t be able to provide good jobs for working families (as if they are providing those jobs now). The great Republican hope, Ron Paul is desperately trying to convince us that we all have “A right to work.” That sounds great until you realize that “right to work” States are the ones that allow anyone to work in a Union shop, breaking the backs of the Unions. Right to work, States are among the poorest States in America.
He doesn’t care much for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security either. The Department of Education is another “Federal monstrosity.” I wonder what kind of schools Mississippi and Alabama would come up with on their own. Maybe they could get credit-helping Daddy fix the tractor. Maybe the whole family could get job training at the local flea market or at yard sales.
The Democrats seem to believe that these occupy events are good for Democratic ideals. Nothing could be further from the truth. After the phony blustering in the halls of Congress, when they meet up with their Republican friends and the lobbyists at the local watering hole, we can see that they all have the same agenda. There are very few Democratic lawmakers that don’t belong to the much-touted 1%. Just ask Senator Frank Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank about their “good deal” Countrywide cut-rate mortgages after they worked on those banking regulations.
When the Banks and investment houses took their bailouts without any disclosure and Elizabeth Warren raised hell about the secrecy on who got what, was it any wonder why she wasn’t nominated to be the Federal Consumer Watchdog? There ARE some good people in Washington, but they are difficult to find. It would be a blessing to see her elected Senator in Massachusetts.
I think we are all a little bit tired of those that say they are acting in our best interests. Maybe they don’t have our best interests at heart, but they are definitely acting. The Supreme Court is another great bunch of actors. Citizens United pulled off a financial Coup D’état. Now the richest of the rich can buy their own Senator or Congressman…legally. For that matter, foreign governments can get representation for a price. Israel has been doing it for years.
Occupy Wall Street is a Godsend (if you believe in that sort of thing). I live in South Carolina. It’s a State full of good people, hardworking, but not the richest people in the nation. That’s why I’m astounded to see my neighbors vote against their best interests. I went to a town hall meeting with that intellectual giant Sen. Jim DeMint. South Carolina is the thirty-seventh richest state in the United States of America, with a per capita income of $18,795 (2000). Yet I stood and watched him launch a tirade against Medicare and Social Security that had the good people of Greenville giving him a standing ovation. One of my favorite things to do is to count the right-wing bumper stickers on the back of a 25-year-old pickup truck through the smoke bellowing out of the exhaust pipe.
On January 6, 2007, I wrote Clean Money and Democracy . In this article, I wrote:
“The things that turn me off about the Democrats are that they are deep into the corporaracy that is now the form of government that rules our country. The United States is hardly a democracy, not that it really ever was. Our country now has politicians that are responsible to their corporate masters and not to the people that elect them.”
For those that made it to NY, or to an occupy near their home like I did, I salute you. You did the right thing. This is probably the single most important thing we could be doing. I’m convinced that once we realize just how much impact these protests have, it will empower us to change this country. The thing that scares the powers that be the most is to see the people empowered.
The proverbial worm has turned. This is just the beginning. We have demonstrated that we can and will act. This won’t stop here. There is a way to make our voices heard. We don’t need the same people that have abused us to lead us. This is our time. This isn’t the Democrats time, and it sure isn’t the Republican’s time. This is the people’s time and our voice will be heard. We really are the 99%. Let them worry about us.
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|Allen L. Jasson|