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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy My Wallet

So, the interwebz are all ablaze with news of the occupy wall street/all streets activities. Following the media blackout for its first two weeks, the talking heads have weighed in, following their traditional approaches. The right wing media denounces it, as does the left. The left, though, will have folks on who try to make the case. Most get shouted down or marginalized by the other 23 hours and 54 minutes of coverage on a given day.

To no one's surprise, the tone goes something like this:

Reporter: Radical hipsters have taken to camping in parks meant for real Americans.

Anchor: Shocking! Roll the footage of the most far-out fringe elements you can find, and ignore the level-headed speakers, the veterans and the holders of worthless mortgages.

Reporter: (in voice over) Bongos and protest songs remind us of that other time in our history when people tried to influence their government in the only way that is Constitutionally protected. They smell.

I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.

The leftier news like Current actually has the cujones to support the idea of Constitutionally-protected free speech and peaceful assembly. The nerve!
It is fun to watch Keith Obermann splutter, though.

I have seen in my content stream, (there has to be a better name for this), lots of pro-demonstrator info. Some of it actually makes sense. I have also seen, by both folks I don't know as well as folks with opinions I respect, anti-protestor opinions. These sound remarkably like what my grandparents said watching demonstrations in the '60s and '70s. "They should get a job." , "They're just selfish kids." etc., etc. To be fair, given the footage on T.V., that's really the only sane response.

I have read the 22 demands, (well, I watched K.O. read them). I have heard Glenn Beck's assertion that the protestors will come for us all and kill us in the night. We have many problems of our own creation here in the U.S. and none of them are insurmountable. The problems lies with one thing.

Money.

When I was a kid, I used to love "The Monkeys" T.V. show. As a pre-teen, I thought they were on par with the Beatles, and as such, paid close attention to what went on in that show. One of the things that stood out for my 9 year-old brain was a sign that hung on the wall in their house, and was visible in just about every episode. It said: Money is the root of all evil. I know, they didn't invent it, but that was my first introduction to the concept.

For an excellent primer on how our country engineered our current economic woes, go here...
http://vimeo.com/3261363

But, that's only part of the problem. The real culprit in this scenario is the rules and regs put in place to allow such a debacle. And, for that, fair readers, you have to look to our elected representatives, who allow themselves to be bought with... you guessed it... money.

They put the rules in place. It is our Congresspeople and Senators who should be held responsible. Corporate greed is a front for the real crime; the influence-buying of our government.

No one is immune. Republicans, Democrats, Independents - all children of the American dream. Now, I'm all for money. I kinda like having it, and I get a bit excited when I get paid. Being an American, I was brought up with the notion that if I work hard, and play by the rules, I could be a millionaire. All evidence to the contrary, I still believe that, in spite of the obvious.

So, why would I expect our elected officials to be better than me? Why would I expect them to be able to be virtuous in the face of HUGE amounts of cash being offered to them in exchange for a little influence? Why should I expect them to play by the rules if they get to write the rules?

Because they told me they would. Because they said so in every stump speech and every political ad. They said they would look out for us. And they can't when faced with all of that money coming at them from corporations who make tons of it based on the rules that their payouts influence.

Corporations are not people. Cash is not speech. We need to pony up, as taxpayers, an agreed-upon amount politicians can spend in elections, fund it, and make illegal a penny more being spent. We need to separate the corporations from out government.

If we can do that, then I'm confident that cooler heads will prevail. We'll get rules and laws that benefit everyone, and corporations will still be allowed to make as much as they can possibly hoard.

And if a million people read this, and then send me a dollar, I'll be rich... so get on that, ok?