Yesterday, my congressional candidate brother, Will, visited Cousin Gary visiting from Southern, CA. Gary had never been to an Occupy Wall Street protest because, as he put it, “I’m not interested in closing ports and businesses where people have jobs. And, I don’t want to lay down in the street.”
He also confessed to not quite understanding what the point is. While vitriolic radio show hosts criticize and condemn the movement as pointless and leaderless, I notice that all National news organizations are covering this movement- because it has legs. As one local protester, Rick Mines put it, “Protesting the concentration of wealth and power held by less than 1 percent of the population is an effort to save capitalism. Capitalism has to be fair,” (And I would add regulated.)
You can’t compete when some guy is putting $100 million down to put a Supreme Court Justice in place, or when 80% of congress regards their major job in governing is to get rich by way of hand-outs, insider trading, and million dollar jobs when they leave. I take heart because the long term apathy among the general population is finally over. You couldn’t get people to take to the streets. That has changed all over the world as well as in our highly conservative mountain counties, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador.
It was a small band on a cold December evening during the busy Christmas season. Two young students were there. The only other woman said to me, “In our county we are all part of the 99%. We don’t have any concentration of wealthy here. But, it is still important to let people know, its time to take a stand and we desperately need change and jobs and a robust middle class.”
This sign speaks to an issue that may be more important than the government laws that tilt toward the wealthy. It is a slippery slope to a fascist state when we weaken our first amendment rights. There are many good things in the NDAA, like protections for whistleblowers. But, we are not to know if sub-par maintenance of our airplanes is a factor in crash. We cannot know who contributed what to the congressional committee people overseeing the granting of government contracts. On any contract, any savings realized cannot be directed to the National Debt once the money has been set aside and is not used for that project. No clue to where that money WILL go. Suspected terrorists will not have the same rights of trial, detention, and ability to defend themselves as we do now. There are good things in the act, but many slippery areas. The idea to audit the Defense Department Budget was soundly rejected. Hmmm. It’s on-line. Read it.