Sunday, October 9, 2011

What's it all about?

There has been a lot of criticism of the Occupy Wall Street movement, much of which centers on the supposed lack of a clear message.  It's not that the message isn't clear, it's that there are is a long list of grievances and unless the sources reporting take the time to hear many of these, they will remain ignorant.  Of course, considering those "reporting" are in America, they're either completely stupid or just plain lying if they say they don't know what this is about.  In fact, I think you'd have to be from another planet to not know what this is about.  I am not a politically or economically-minded person.  The intricacies of this mess are a blur to me but the big picture is that our country has been robbed and the whole world is suffering. 

My personal complaints in relation to the Occupation:

*  Working too many hours for too little compensation.
*  Working full time with no health-care.
*  The fact that higher is out of reach education due to the cost and lack of promise in the job market.

But also:

*  The difference in percentage of income paid as taxes by the ultra-rich over the past 30-50 years.
*  Millions of Americans lost their savings, retirements, homes, and got no compensation.
*  Those who were at fault for the losses got a "bailout", (because they run on our money), but not a cent was returned to the people who actually lost everything.  Not a single person went to jail.
*  Students graduating college can't find jobs in the field they studied for, and if they can they don't pay enough to live, let alone pay back their enormous student loan debt.
*  Millions of Americans have no health insurance.  Of those who do, most have to pay large co-pays and pay for many things that aren't "covered".  Health "care" is an industry, aimed more at "treating" dis-ease than preventing or maintaining health or curing anything.  Big Pharm. is an evil industry.
*  The 1% (top wealthiest) greed has infested everything, causing us to relentlessly pursue our planet's natural  resources and use forms of energy that are ecologically toxic. 
*  We've been brainwashed into consumerism and have lost much arcane knowledge, we need to regain more power over our own well-being.
*  Our food is tainted, the government has allowed the modification not only of prepared packaged food-type products, but also of your basic tomato.  It's getting difficult to get clean seeds.  There are far too many money-makers in our food system, putting pressure on farmers and exponentially over-charging consumers.
*  Our politicians, (and, therefore, our policies), are insistently influenced by large corporations with designs on wringing every cent out of the world while polluting at their leisure. 
*  The "two"-party system isn't working anymore.  The super-rich should be taxed properly and out of that more reasonable tax-pool, each individual who is elected by any party should be given the same (reasonable) amount for campaigning and time in televised debate or, better, just making statements and taking honest questions. 
*  Voting should matter.  There should be no electoral college.  One person, one vote.  Period.
*  And we should be able to vote on EVERYTHING.  We should not be at the mercy of congress sweeping in mid-term and abolishing our new, shiny health-care reform.
*  Every American citizen, (I believe every human being but I have to start where I am), should have health care, a college education, decent primary schooling that is not based on standardized testing, a home that's made of healthy, natural materials and is affordable, work that pays a high enough wage to pay bills and enjoy life, fewer weekly hours worked and more time off, healthy, clean food that isn't "genetically modified" or made of chemicals...
*  We need to be more local.  I'm against sending work over-seas but for a somewhat different reason than some.  I do want things I buy to be made here, as near to me as possible so that the transport of goods does less damage.  I also want these nasty corporations to stop setting up sweat shops in other countries, paying people disgustingly nominal wages to work in brutal conditions so that I can have some cool stuff at the Target dollar-spot.  If we stop all of that, if we bring our work home and take our money back, stop warring all over the place, we could go to these countries and help because our own country would be functional.
*  We don't want to be at war anymore.  Bring our soldiers home.  That's a lot of people who could work at designing and building clean, sustainable power sources.
*  There is a lot of work to be done in this country.  There are a lot of jobs to do.  We just need the money to pay for them.
*  We're not alone.  The reason we've sat in American and watched as Egypt and Libya and Greece and so many other places erupted is that it's been almost-tolerable for so long.  Not only do we have a lot of conveniences here, we've also been taken with the idea that we're somehow in a bubble, that the things the rest of the world has to deal with don't affect us.  "Well, sure glad we don't have any evil dictators here in these great states!"  Unless you really stop and think about it.  Or if they get really greedy and just decide to pull a mighty heist right before everyone's eyes.  Like they did.  It took us three years of stewing over that to get to where we are today.  We're standing up for ourselves, and we're standing up with the rest of the world.  We've finally said, "We're with you!  We're not going to take it anymore, either!  We're with you!".   I'm really glad to be here, watching and cheering and, soon, marching with the whole world.   

 It's about taking it back!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wall Street is Occupied

It's happening!  The revolution we've needed, the one I've felt brewing under the surface of our society, has finally begun!  There are thousands of people filling Wall Street in New York City, speaking for the millions of Americans who are finally fed up.  We're tired of struggling, of outrageous student debt, jobs that don't pay enough to live, being scammed out of our savings...  We're tired of the top 1% holding so much wealth while their special interest groups lobby with their almighty dollars to make changes to our system that hurt the other 99%.  Our schools are horrible, taxes are all out of proportion, the cost of living has increased much more quickly than wages, and our government is doing nothing to protect us.  They're totally fed by and beholden to these big corporations who are running our country into the ground. 

I've never paid a lot of attention to politics or finance.  Over the past few years I've tried to learn more about what's going on and it's completely crazy.  I understand why I didn't want to know.  We've been conditioned to look the other way.  We're mollified by T.V. and movies, video games and various other distractions.  We're pitted against one another  by "issues" that don't interfere with the corporate agenda.  I feel this fresh air blowing across the country.  We've finally woken up.  There are finally enough of us who don't want to look away anymore.  We want things to be better. 

The fact that this is happening in America is very important.  I have no crazy ideas that America is still the most "powerful" country, and certainly not the most wealthy, but we are the most watched.  I wish it wasn't that way but even if you look at the entertainment industry, someone can be wildly famous elsewhere and utterly unknown here, while most big American names are known in many other countries.  Who in America had heard of Alanis Morissette before "Jagged Little Pill"?  And she had two huge albums just north of the border.  Unfortunately, for a long time, we've also been one of the least politically active societies.

We're supposed to be the leaders of democracy.  I feel we, the people of the United States, have an obligation to the rest of the world to hold our government accountable.  We have freedoms that others don't.  So many people have risked so much the world over to rise up against corrupt systems.  We have it easy here, in a lot of ways, and that's been one of the problems.  We're finally outraged at ourselves.  We realize we have the power to change things and we're done being complacent.  Our forefathers sent us a lovely statement about what to do in times such as these.  :

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

(We should say why we're pissed.)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

(We all know that part, right?) 

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

(We, the People, are in charge.)

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their further security."

(People will put up with a lot of shit but at a certain point, enough is enough.)

My new favorite document is the Declaration of Independence.

  It's time.  Enough is certainly enough.  There are a lot of things wrong with this country and with the world.  People everywhere are taking steps, brave steps, to create change.  I'm buoyed by this.  Those people down on Wall Street, and the others all over the country in support, and all over the world in similar battles, they're hope incarnate.  These people are heros, they're our voices and our outrage, they're pursuing justice for millions.  God and Goddess bless them and protect them!