Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupying Velvet Sacks

It doesn't bother me one whit that there are people in this country who have a lot more money than I do. Let 'em have it. "Live and let live" and all that.

At a time when so many people are struggling financially, it does bother me a tiny bit when I see such overtly ostentatious houses, automobiles, or yachts that there seems to be no reason for their existence other than to stroke someone's outsized ego. It troubles me even more to learn that some individuals have obtained their fortunes through cheating, stealing, or accepting ridiculously large bonuses while workers at lower levels are being laid off. And when exceedingly rich people and corporations use their boatloads of money to buy political influence? That doesn't just bother me, my friends. That pisses me off!

Our laws should ensure that the ultra-wealthy are entitled to exactly the same amount of political influence you and I have: one vote apiece. When our elected officials fail to do the business of our government because the offices they hold have been bought and paid for by the one percent of the population with the deepest pockets, we need to recognize that something has gone terribly wrong. The fact that this kind of paid political persuasion is possible does not make it acceptable.

Today I'm standing up in my little corner of the Internet to join forces with people all across the country who are stepping up to occupy their communities in the interest of letting our officials know that we love America, we love what it stands for, and we're desperate to put a stop to the short-sighted, greedy, grab-what-you-can-get-and-to-hell-with-everyone-else attitude that has permeated Wall Street and Washington.

I've been reading the websites and Facebook pages of some of the Occupy groups. For the most part (there are always exceptions), I like what they're trying to do and the peaceful way in which they're attempting to go about it. The Occupy movement reminds me in so many ways of the push for change that grew in the 1960s until changes did occur. The process was long, frequently painful, but almost always exhilarating, as though the very air we breathed contained a low-voltage electrical charge.

I't's difficult to explain the Sixties to people who didn't experience it for themselves. If you're one who missed it, pay attention to what's happening across the country now. We  might be on the verge of something similar.

I haven't yet found the courage to join the bold souls who have recently begun to "occupy" nearby Baton Rouge. Maybe I will, someday, but when I see the hatred being spewed online at some of these groups and the misinformation being dispensed by certain segments of the media, my thoughts turn abruptly away from what's right for our country and focus on my own safety and security.

How selfish I am. I stay hidden, like a rabbit in tall grass, trying not to draw attention to my small presence in this field of dissent. The Occupy protestors march through that same grass, waving signs, singing anthems, shouting slogans, shining a spotlight on the masses of Americans whose financial--and, therefore, physical--security is being threatened. To me, these protestors are soldiers battling bravely in a different kind of war.

I proudly salute them, even as I slink back into posting about dogs, books, autumn leaves, and old family furniture.

9 comments:

  1. Good post! I've been reading that police are getting quite violent in some cities. It sounds like you are working up to some kind of participation, and it is a risky decision if you decide to go for it and risky (in a long term way) if you don't. I can only say choose your battles. I think you are a very level headed and highly intelligent woman, and you should probably not underestimate the power of your blog. I think it will touch a lot of your readers.

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  2. Linda, I think this is the best blog you have ever written and I agree with everything you said. I was in my 20s in the sixties. I watched the protesters of the war and agreed with them, but was too scared to get involved, besides my future husband was over there. It seemed disrespectful of him to disagree publically, since he volunteered to go. Now I agree with what's going on, but feel too old to participate. So I cheer from my kitchen while watching the news. Not the same as being there, I know, but my heart is.

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  3. SDC, thank you for your comment as well as your advice, and don't worry: I'm not brave enough to do anything rash.

    Kybeadmaker, thanks for your support. So glad to hear from someone who remembers and understands what I'm feeling. For me there was a strong pull to participate in the civil rights marches of the '60s, but I sat on the sidelines then, too. We may not volunteer to go to the front lines, but we can at least follow our hearts in the voting booth.

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  4. Good post! This is beginning to remind me of the protests during the 60s. The police started the violence then, too. I just hope the protest grows and grows. And, I hope everyone involved and everyone who supports them will go to the polls and show their dissatisfaction that way in 2012.

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  5. Betty, I understand that the police must see these gatherings as aggravations that take them away from fighting crime, but if they'd stop to think about how law enforcement budgets have been cut in recent years, they might not be so quick to try to put an end to these protests.

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  6. I agree 100%. All those protests and marches back then brought about some good changes. I hope that the same will happen this time. America and all she stands for is being taken from us....those of us who love her...mainly because of Greed. We need to bring our jobs back home; we need to take care of our own first....that would be a good start.

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  7. Val, there's truth in the old saying that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," and it's about time the wheels on our side of the wagon started squeaking. I was worried that we would just roll along this bumpy road until our wheels fell off into the ditch.

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  8. I've never understood WHY politicians need such huge sums of money for their election efforts. I know that TV ads are expensive, but honestly, who pays attention to the ads, particularly after seeing the same one for the 100th time? I vote for the candidate who I feel will do the least damage, which is sad because I'd prefer to vote for the candidate I think will make things better.

    I have to disagree a little bit:
    I've always felt it was unfair that CEOs of corporations made breathtakingly large sums while the people who actually do the work make a pittance, or are laid off. But we have to remember that this is America and we're capitalists, not communists. The lesson here is that anyone who's willing to work their way up, even if they have to glad-hand people they can't stand, has the same opportunity to own hideous mansions, yachts and overpriced cars. Fortunately, there are lots of average people who are willing to work for changes in the world, and average people far outnumber the 1% or whatever percentage the super-rich are.

    That being said, I'm not sure what the Occupy people think they're trying to accomplish-I've never read what exactly it's all about besides wresting the power from the super-rich. Just how do they propose to do that? Forcibly take away the rich peoples' assets and distribute them to the masses? I can't give my support to a cause unless I understand what it's about. I read so many conflicting opinions that it's hard to sort out.

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  9. Janet, when you say you don't understand what the Occupy movement is about, you have plenty of company. For that I blame the media (Fox News especially). You're right that it is about "wresting the power from the super-rich." The POWER--not the money. As for the "average people who are willing to work for changes in the world," the Occupy movement is just one way some average people are trying to do that.

    Here are links to a couple of good articles:

    "The Real Crime: Concentration of Power"

    "Occupy Wall Street Deserves Respect"

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