As usual for me, I am going against the grain for how most liberals appear to see the occupation movement and how I see what needs to be done. I didn't like the tent city approach to it and am not sure what that was supposed to be saying. We don't like our jobs; so will camp downtown until we get better ones? Oh wait, we are the ones without regular jobs and we will stay here until we get a job? How will staying there get you a job? It is vague for how it'd work.
I grew up when demonstrations were common, and for good reasons often. They make total sense to me. You gather up like minded people, get a permit to gather at a city center for a group of speakers, maybe march through the city where the city has the ability to plan for orderly traffic rerouting because you aren't doing this illegally. I see the reason to show strength in numbers and have speakers who can espouse your viewpoint. No doubt about the truth in squeaky wheel gets the oil or out of sight, out of mind; but this occupy thing had a potential, as I saw it, of not getting any satisfaction for the real problems, drawing to it the wrong element (anarchists in short and by the camping the homeless who are always wandering around all our cities), and what about bathroom facilities? Without a concrete suggestion for how to fix what they see as wrong, what is its purpose? How can it gain a purpose if no suggested method is out there? Those are my doubts about it.
So this movement hasn't asked my opinion but I'll give it anyway. I think we need to find candidates who express our viewpoint, donate to them, and do what the tea party did in 2010, effectively taking over one of the seats of power, in our case, if we are lucky, all three with a plan in mind for what that means and what we expect from it.
In my view, the tea party formed and got together candidates to run but they had money and an organization behind them to do that. Big money came in the form of the Koch brothers and other wealthy hedge fund managers who didn't want to take a chance that their gravy train was about to implode.
How do we duplicate that? Well we donate money to those we hear talking like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Alan Grayson whether they are in our district or state. Personally we began that in 2010 when for the first time we donated to a Congressman, Pete DeFazio, who was not in our district but who we had heard stand up for the things we believe. We also had never donated to a Governor's race before, never felt we had to. Boy was I glad we had when I saw the states that got these radical tea party type governors who started trying to demolish all the rights of the ordinary people in the supposed name of liberty but in reality in the name of their big bucks donors. Donate even if a small amount as it shows numbers behind that person and those ideas.
If we don't have money to donate, we work the phones or sent out mailers or whatever it takes to get people in the House and Senate who are not just democrats in name only. That's what the tea party voters did. They got it that you can call yourself anything but it's how you vote that shows who you really are.
We have plenty of Democrats who vote regularly with the Conservatives, which I wouldn't mind so much of the word conservative hadn't been usurped by a group only interested in supporting the wealthy. Conservative as used by Republicans today has absolutely none of the meaning it used to have.
So we support people to run for office who will actually change things. We pressure them to follow through on their promises. We have big money too who believe in liberal values. We need them to be more active, to put their money out there like George Soros, who is a hated name in right wing circles. Soros doesn't support just causes that line his own wallet but rather ones that he sees as right for the culture. You can disagree with his view on what that means, but you should respect how he works for what won't necessarily make him more money but will help others. You can't say that for the Koch brothers or the hedge fund multimillionaire who tried to take away DeFazio's seat in 2010 and will try again in '12.
I am not averse to big gatherings where people hear speakers and show their numbers; but when it comes time to block streets, to take over a park block and camp there, I think it's wrong-- and potentially unhealthy. Ever read how typhoid is spread or other plagues? Such encampments are providing the opportunity for anarchy to take over-- and without an agenda of what it's about. It can't just be-- I want what they have. That doesn't work for me. How do you propose to get it where I can think about how I feel about it, that works better for me. It's not as dramatic, but it's what democracy is supposed to be about.
When the tea party was first coming together, I heard a lot of the talk of revolution and hear it again now. Do people who use the word so loosely have any idea what that will mean? Violence as a method of achieving change usually ends up with the meanest ones in power and that most of us will not like.
Our American Revolution was an exception-- although we might've also been ahead to try an orderly method of change as when you turn to guns, it seems it's easier to think next time of the same answer and you end up with the Civil War next. The reason the Revolution though did succeed was because a revolution isn't just about winning the battles. It has to have orderly minds at the head. In 1776, they were learned men and had a plan that they could put in place. Luckier even was the toughest, most successful warrior of the lot was a man called George Washington, who resisted being put in place as an Emperor or King. You don't always get that lucky.
I don't know how long the Occupy movement will continue but I hope it evolves into working for the ones who will be able to actually make a change in our system to make taxation more fair. Oh I know the spiel about how the wealthy pay most taxes now. They pay more than 40% of the taxes. Gotcha... but they have over 90% of the wealth. Think about it for a bit and I think you can see how an equitable rate for them where they pay the same rates as everybody who isn't in poverty, that should be the goal. Not to take all they have. That's back to anarchy or like the French Revolution/s which only leads to more revolutions.
Instead aim for fair tax policies that encourage investment, that reward work, that discourage sending manufacturing overseas, that recognize there are good reasons for government and make sure government fulfills those reasons. In my opinion, that's the duty of good citizens-- not camping downtown.