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Monday, December 12, 2011

What Occupy Means to Me

(Ed. note I previously published this as a response to a Letter to the Editor of a local paper)

While the press and punditry argue over how best to marginalize the Occupy movement, something real is going on. Something that is far, far more like the original Tea Party than the bland, mainstream effort that held sway during the last election cycle. While today's Tea Party movement found its roots on common ground with the Occupy protesters, their willingness to be led from behind by the same corporate puppeteers that they rail against forces one to recognize the divide between the two movements. There is real truth in the Occupy standpoint. Even those so unwilling to publicly admit these truths must, in their own minds, agree that they are beyond dispute.

Money, and the pursuit of it, is fundamental to the American way of life, but that pursuit has supplanted the ideals of fairness, equitable treatment and due process. The wealthiest among us buy the influence of our elected leaders, who then create laws and legislation that favor those contributors. This is contrary to our pursuit of the American Dream.

Aspects of American life that citizens have traditionally viewed as American Rights have been systematically legislated away, to be replaced with police in battle armor and arrests for participating in the very activities our founders died to give us by writing it into our nation's Constitution.

Citizens of these United States have allowed these transgressions. We have believed that our leaders have our best interests at heart, even while we encourage a political system that extols the mediocre over the brilliant and the faithful over the logical. When American citizens have been pushed to the brink and finally wake up, we are faced with the system we have created. That system, and those who profit from it, don't much care for ideas of liberation.

The Occupy protests are the first of this awakening. One that will reach us all eventually, when the masters of our money have finally picked the last pennies from our pockets. The protestors I've seen on the news are not the true representation of this movement. People of all ages, all nationalities and all faiths are waking up to the reality that the rules for obtaining the American Dream are not the same for everyone, as we had been promised. There are different rules for those who can pay to write the rules.

This is the underlying flaw in our system. Its not about tents, or drum circles or "dirty hippies". Its about realizing that the people we trusted to look after our nation have let us down. This is the basic undercurrent of every failed system of government in history. But, in America, it still belongs to us. We are still the shepherds of our Republic. Its high time we started acting like it. That is what the Occupiers really want.