Nel's New Day

November 18, 2011

Occupy Movement Occupies Small Towns

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 5:53 PM

I am fortunate to live in a small Northwest town. Although the newspaper has become conservative, many of those who write to the editor are not. Following is a letter to the editor; I wish I wrote as well as the author of this letter does.

“When I’m able to, I join the group that you may have seen at the intersection of … from 11 to 1 on Saturday. As I hold my sign and wave to the mostly supportive folks driving by, I talk to the other participants. We are a diverse lot, young and old and in-between, the employed, the unemployed and the retired, students, carpenters, electricians, truck drivers, computer programmers and teachers. It’s a pretty good cross-section of America, at least of 99% of America.

I’m grimly amused at the feigned confusion of the pundits on TV, radio, newspapers and blogs about the Occupy Movement. “What is their message?” they ask plaintively. “What are their demands?” C’mon now. It’s about economic injustice. It’s about the richest 1% of Americans and corporations who have, over the course of years, amassed an ever increasing portion of our wealth, and are using the power that money brings to ensure that they get what little we have left.

Banks, insurance companies, communication providers, and goods and service providers of all kinds have pursued the holy grail of increased profits quarter-over-quarter for so long that the only thing left is to bleed their “customers” of every last penny, while providing less and less value for the dollar. The Koch brothers made 53 billion dollars (Yes, that’s Billion, with a B) in the last 6 years speculating in oil futures, in case you’re wondering why gas prices are so high during a global recession.

Once the financial industry lobby got the safeguard legislation provided by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 nullified, the way was clear for banks and investment houses to invent financial instruments that provided no value except for the robber barons who collectively made billions. They made money selling junk mortgages and made more money by betting that the mortgages would default. It was a win-win deal for them, but the American people lost 7.5 trillion real dollars. Pension plans and life savings were trashed, but those in the financial insiders circle made billions.

So when the banks and giant insurance companies teetered on the brink of collapse from paying off these sucker bets, the American people got to bail them out, while their homes are foreclosed because the banks are sitting on giant piles of cash that we gave them, refusing to modify or refinance our mortgages.

The “Occupy” movement is not about resenting the wealthy. The 99% seem pretty content to let the avaricious hoard the money, if that’s what they want. Perhaps a little too content. While we weren’t paying attention, they bought our political system and the “free press.” They gave themselves huge tax reductions and tax loopholes, forcing a drastic reduction in tax dollars for infrastructure and education, and essential assistance for the poor, the sick, the elderly, veterans, students and a host of others. Not content with that, they now use their billions to promote a program of social engineering, to mold our country to their liking in order to guarantee an unending supply of workers who will be willing to settle for whatever crumbs fall from their table.

But they went too far. They’ve robbed the younger generations of a future. Students graduating from college these days have debt that will take a lifetime to pay off, if they can ever get any kind of decent living wage job. Young people these days live with their parents or with multiple roommates, because most of them can’t afford to live any other way.

People who see no future don’t have much to lose. They have to make things change. Some of the young people I talk to at the Occupy Newport demonstrations have no faith in our political system, and why should they? Their whole lives, they have watched as money and power have gradually corrupted our national political system until the claim of a representative democracy is a joke. Go ahead, call your congressman and ask for a meeting to talk about the things that are vital to you. You won’t waste your time, will you? You know the lobbyists will get an audience, but you will not. You know that the big campaign contributors will be heard, but you will get a form letter, if you’re lucky.

I don’t pretend to know where all this is going. I do know, like a growing number of Americans, that something has to change. We need to wake up, to confront what we have allowed to happen, and to figure out how to change it. That’s what the Occupy … movement is all about. The group has a Facebook page, and a website. They hold a General Assembly every week, as well as the gathering at the highway intersection on Saturday. All are welcome. We are attempting to find our way forward, to collectively agree on what we should do and then take action. This is the most positive development I’ve seen in America since the civil rights movement. Please join us.”

Thank you, Bill Dalbey. May there be millions of people like you across our nation.

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