I’ve been holding off writing about the recent events surrounding the various “Occupy X” movements for good reason: because things happen at such a rapid pace and so quickly do things change that I find it hard to get a grasp on things. I needed a few days to put together some thoughts in my head about the whole movement, our Congress and Senate, and our President. This is very important what I am about to write; so please listen to what I have to say and feel free to comment and have a dialog by commenting at the end. I have disabled the “comments must be approved” function for this post so that a free and open dialog can go on uninterrupted by myself and that everyone has a say.
This is a pivotal moment in history; we are truly living in historic times, and have in fact done so since the turn of the new Millennia. I believe that 9/11 was the catalyst for a lot of things, but while it was responsible for two wars and billions of dollars spent on the dogs of war and their machines, it was also a decade that saw artificial wealth being given to the middle class in the form of these packages real estate derivatives that were a part of many direct investments or 401K’s. It saw a lot of people own homes who had no business owning one by virtue of their income not being large enough; in fact, we were encouraged to “go shopping” by then President GW Bush as if nothing had happened and nothing changed after the attacks on the Pentagon, World Trade Center, and the unfortunate loss of life by those passengers on Flight 93 who diverted the plane into the ground rather than see it be used as yet another weapon of terror.
It was a decade of personal loss for me after being caught up in the WTC attack: acute PTSD and Bi Polar II had me on the permanently disabled list, and I’m collecting the Social security that I paid into since I was 15…and I’m collecting it way before I ever expected to. Likewise Medicare. But these are two programs that helped my wife and I in a time of crisis, and every day I wake up and thank the Gods, Universe, or whatever is out there for that social safety net that kept my family together. We’re going through some rough times right now personally. My wife and I have issues and we are now the parents of a teenager who is an absolutely brilliant kid, but give us the headaches of growing pains. Our 10 year old is in that awkward transition from child to teenager. The only ones who have no problems are the cats. They find their sunbeam and lay in it most of the day happier than can be. My wife is a Registered Nurse and is the breadwinner, I’m the stay at home dad who is trying to raise the kids and not let my ailments get in the way (I also have degenerating discs in my back). I’m also trying to write a book about the past ten years and what happened to me and what I thought we, as a species should be doing right now to help one another and survive this world together. I also blog too, not just because I want to, but because I HAVE to. Writing is the only way I keep my focus on one thing instead of a million and I actually remember what I’ve done because its on a page in front of me, rather than ask someone where were we in a conversation. It’s not easy having a mind that’s quite intelligent, but a memory like a sieve; one that used to be photographic. Now it’s like the copier machine has broken.
9/11 changed the way I look at the world; it was like a switch went of in my head that was always there but never used before. I’ve spoken to many other 9/11 Survivors who feel the same way: that Mankind HAS to change in order for it to survive; so that we have no more days like that horrible Tuesday that killed and scarred so many of us and our families. This is something we have talked about for years on blogs, in posts, among ourselves, but is now coming to fruition by the brave souls who are protesting not only the wrong way they were treated and the right to have a job to make an honest living, national healthcare and free education. These are rights that should be afforded us as human beings, not “rights” in quotes doled out by the 1 Percenters who pick and choose which of us is to survive. That is Social Darwinism at its most perverse. In order for this planet, this species called the Human Race to survive…we must change the way we do business with each other as well as the way we think and look at ourselves.
Changes are coming; HUGE changes. Not just governments rising and falling (which is inevitable, even some stable ones we know might be threatened) because the sleeping giant has been awakened. The people of this planet who have been kept downtrodden and poor by the upper classes are realizing that there are others out there in the same boat. The middle class realizes that it is ever shrinking, and that the economy which once depended so much on them being employed can now function with Corporations making profits with less staff that will not be replaced like they did in the old days. There is the creeping reality that jobs will never be recreated. And the rich are realizing they never had it so good.
In the meantime, a new class has been formed, something I like to call “The Political Class”, which is pretty much anyone in elected office, their staffs, or anyone who lobbies these guys on behalf of large corporations. These guys get it good: good pay, good benefits (in and out of office), and the money that comes from taking that little bit of cash here and there than cannot be traced; a vacation that looks innocent enough on the books but is in fact one big strategy session with the Corporate Masters. Yes indeed, The Political Class is a reality, and they are the ones who believe in a lifetime job in Congress or the Senate. These are the guys that are supposed to represent OUR best interests, not theirs. These are the guys who are supposed to fight FOR US, not AGAINST US. Instead, they rally behind causes championed by their Corporate Masters, eager to please and surely eager to gain more personal wealth from the experience. The most frightening thing of all is the fact that this class of people is in fact replacing the Middle Class so that you now have a group of “Haves” (the 1 Percent who control almost all the wealth) and the “Have Nots” (the 99 Percent who have very little wealth, do all the labor, and are the ones who make the 1 % Rich). The Political Class pretty much falls in like with the 1 Percent because let’s face it, that’s where their own personal wealth comes from.
So what we have here is a situation that is untenable and self-destructive in its own nature. It simply cannot exist, because of the sheer numbers of people who are in the 99 Percent. You can have all the money in the world, but if there are 100 of you and 1,000 angry at you for having stolen or not given them some what they worked for back to them you are outnumbered and may in fact be outgunned. 2,000 fists will beat 100 any day of the week, unless those 200 hands command tanks and other weapons that could be used against the 1,000. And that is the precipice upon which we stand at this very moment, with the Political Class very much caught in between. There are those that side with the 99 Percent but cannot publically support us because their own position would be threatened; and for my money, that’s not someone I want in office who can only represent me when it counts for HIM and not all the time of US. There are those in the Political Class that are clearly also a part of the 1 Percent and are now shouting that the protestors and participants of the “Occupy X” movements are anarchists, that somewhere there is a Robespierre among us and there is also a sharpened guillotine awaiting them. This is simply not the case. This is not France in 1789, it is the United States of America in 2011. Americans do not act that way, nor do we even THINK that way. We are far more a nobler and wiser people than that. We are not the type who like mob rule on any level, and in this instance this is also the case.
So you see, not only do our 1 Percenters feel threatened by the very fact that we outnumber them, and that the sleeping giant has been awakened, but that the sleeping giant is REALLY pissed off having realized what’s been done to it while it took a rest. Well, they have a valid point, and quite frankly I’d be pretty scared right now if I were in their position. But that is letting human emotion and not human reason get in the way of reconciling differences and coming to terms and accommodation peacefully. They too are human beings, like it or not, and they have a right to live, have families, make a living, and have the same things the 99 Percenters want. Many in the 99 Percent forget that there are many noble people who fought tooth and nail for their earnings, who came from less than humble beginnings and now are very proud of what they have. And their mantra is that they worked for it, and so should you. There is one slight problem with that thesis: there are no jobs to be had so that the vast majority of people in this country have the sheer opportunity, just the OPPORTUNITY to work. How can you advance yourself financially and socially when there is no opportunity, when the 1 Percenters are not going to give you any, and when the Political Class sits there doing nothing but watch like some spectator on the sidelines (While you’re up, please get me a hot dog and a beer).
It is clear that conventional means will not work. What will happen is one of two things: the masses will be satiated for a few years by some type of giveback or settlement and then we will be back at this point, or this will end very violently at the point of a gun and no clear victor emerging except either mob rule or an oppressive government hell-bent of stifling free speech and right to redress grievances forever. What is needed is thinking outside the box, a way of approaching all of the issues at hand in a peaceful and non-violent manner. That has begun by the sheer fact that there are now so many “Occupy X” demonstrations (at last count 259 as of last night, according to Keith Olbermann) in every part of this land; every town and village, every hamlet and city big and small. It doesn’t matter, because the 1/99 formula is the same in a small village in Minnesota as it is in New York or Boston. The fact that we have a coordinated response is a HUGE step toward changing the way we as Human Beings think and act toward each other; but as I said before, we are on a precipice and we all must be very careful of the next moves we make.
As many have said, and as I have posted on my Facebook page, “Stay in the Light”. That pretty much means in Star Wars type language, don’t use the Dark Side of the Force to get what you want. Stay in the Light and use the positive energy, the positive thinking, the thousands of years of recorded history of mankind’s most enlightened souls to guide you to a peaceful outcome. Violence will not solve anything. It will only grow into the specter of Civil War, which this could very well become if everyone is not careful where they step next. We lost our most precious blood exactly 150 years ago this year in a War we still have never recovered from. But while that war was one for state’s rights as much as it was for slavery, this one cuts across all walks of mankind: white, black, Latino, Asian, Gentile, Jew, Christian, Muslim, straight, gay…EVERYONE. And THAT is why the 1 Percenters are as frightened as can be, because they have no way to turn the 99 Percenters upon themselves like they have successfully done in the past. They have divided and conquered us enough, the time is now…we move together, as one or not at all.
As noble a thing as mutual spokespersons are, and a few are chosen here and there to speak on television, it is not a realistic way to get your message across. Americans like organization; we are not Egypt or Syria…we are Americans and we like our sides well drawn by lines and points we can understand by people who can speak and get the message across. I implore the demonstrators to PLEASE GET SOME SPOKESPERSONS NOW TO FRAME YOUR MESSAGE OR YOUR MESSAGE WILL BE FRAMED FOR YOU. It is happening now; the media is starting to misrepresent what the “Occupy X” Movement is all about…and all the masses who are not involved, who do not read alternative sources on the Internet see are what is shown to them by the Mass Media, who also have a vested interest in this. Every media outlet is owned by a Corporation, so if you think they are not going to be involved on some level, even as much as twisting your message…think again. Get representatives now. Get spokespeople NOW. Have a Congress, much in the same way as we had our First Continental Congress and elect your leaders from there. We are a participatory Democracy; that is what people are used to. You move the world with a lever but you apply pressure a bit a time. Part of that involves an Organization, and like it or not you are going to have to form one.
For the Political Class and 1 Percenters…your time has come as well: you must realize that you cannot hold on to Power in this manner any longer. You need the consent of the People to govern. You need the will of the People to make this nation a better place…and by giving us up as an example for the rest of the world to follow, just like we have so many times before. Capitalism as it stands now cannot survive; the Empire we have militarily cannot be maintained without great cost to your citizens. Do the right thing: Give up on Empire, take that money and feed the hungry, take care of the sick, give people jobs, IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY. It is time that AMERICA TAKES CARE OF ITSELF, because if we do not do that, how can we possibly take care of others? How can we effectively give to the rest of mankind when we have not shared the wealth in our own borders? And by share the wealth I mean this:
- The Federal or State Governments needs to create something along the lines of the old CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and other Organizations to repair this nations crumbling bridges and roads. Yes, we will have to spend money…but would you rather spend it now on peaceful applications, or bombs that kill others? Investments demand that money be spent. SPEND IT NOW.
- Medicare For All, it’s as simple as that. Raise our taxes, do what you have to do to make this work…but make sure everyone has medical coverage.
- FREE education for all, and forgiveness of student loan debt…ALL student loan debt up to the Bachelor’s level.
- People have a right to UNIONIZE and COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN…don’t you DARE take away those rights again through some government trickery. The 20th Century was spent with people dying for this right…honor their memories, not trample on their graves.
- Treat our Veterans BETTER than we do now. They fought for the rights that you so much want to suppress…honor their sacrifice by giving them better pensions and Medical Care than you do now.
- Maintain and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. I can vouch first hand how much this saved my family; I’m sure it does the same for many others. I have ideas on how to do this, but this is not the time nor place for them…but these are programs that Americans rely on. They are a social contract between this Government and its citizens that needs to be maintained.
For the “Occupy X” protestors, what you need to do is this:
- Pick leadership, or get leadership from your elders who have fought these battles in the Civil Rights and Anti Viet Nam War movements. We may be old, but we know a thing or two about protesting properly.
- DO NOT ANSWER VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE. The Corporations and the 1 Percenters control the Police. Passively resist; then it takes two officers to haul you in as opposed to one and takes away from their manpower. The moment you beget violence with violence, you become an angry mob and will be treated as such by the police, and the media, and eventually the very people you are trying to help who are only seeing the periphery on television or in the newspapers without knowing all the facts. Remember this well. Read Dr King’s notes on this as well as those of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi’s notes may also guide you toward a spiritual path that this is destined to become IF we let the better angels of our nature guide us.
- You are on the verge of changing the world…don’t blow it.
(…to be continued on Friday…)
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”- Mahatma Gandhi
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
“To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.” – Prophet Mohammed
“It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad; and it is, better still to sit with the good than alone. It is better to speak to a seeker of knowledge than to remain silent; but silence is better than idle words.” – Prophet Mohammed
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
– Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 5.3-12 ESV)