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Occupy All Streets. November 17, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Tonight, in the tiny neighboring hamlet of Shelburne Falls, there was a bit of a commotion:

It was a candle-light vigil commemorating the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.  About a hundred people turned out to support the message being proffered by Occupy movements nationwide.  They lined our central Steel Bridge with signs and candles:

Lock up the children, them Dangerous Radicals are out to getcha!

This was a gathering of local folks, farmers and carpenters and teachers and small business owners, young folks and retirees and everyone in between, who share a common perception of what’s ailing us as a society.

And in case you’re chained to a couch and enslaved by a TV feeding you Corporate Bullshit, their message was anything but vague and scattered:

The sign on the left reads, “Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half our 401K’s, took billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses and paid no taxes?  Yeah, me neither!”

Channeling Tengrain, are we?

Despite the fact that we’re not totally down-and-out in these parts, we’re feeling our Nation’s pain.  Recent floods have cost many local towns money they don’t have, our schools are sucking a dry bone for funding, everyone’s financial security in retirement is in jeopardy, and the hope which used to spring eternal is drying up faster than the Australian Outback:

The young lady holding this sign opted to be cropped out when I disclosed the sordid fact that I threw occasional F-bombs when I discussed politics.  So much for this being a movement powered by anarchists!

So the take-away from this night of community action is that We The People are getting it.  We know we’re being taken to the cleaners by those who have far more than they need to live The Good Life, but somehow feel entitled to still more, even as the working folks on whose shoulders they lounge are losing their jobs and homes.

The Occupy movement may or may not take a chill pill as winter renders its venues less hospitable, but God help the 1% when the Spring thaw comes ’round!

 

Lincoln Meets Jesus. October 31, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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6 comments

We’re living through interesting times.

And they’re interesting in a huge variety of ways.  Science keeps turning pages in the Book of New Knowledge, and our Universe evolves into an ever greater mystery as we unlock its secrets.  Astrophysicists look back in time and see our Big House as it was many billions of years ago.  Biologists peer so deeply inside us that they see the micro-chemistry of our thoughts and emotions.  Engineers create things so tiny they’re invisible, yet so powerful they promise to change our conception of the possible.

And society is changing too.  The Middle East is evolving at a High-Speed-Internet rate.  Our Middle Class is collapsing into the fetid pile of the poor, their hands groping upward and grasping at our anxious ankles.

Meanwhile, God has blessed These United Stated so that we, the aggregate “we,”  are richer now than we’ve ever been.

So.  Do you  feel rich?

I know I don’t.  I feel used.  I feel taken for a ride.  I feel like Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand has been yanking my crank for lo these many years.  I feel like most acts of kindness I’ve conjured over my lifetime have been ignored by Karma, with every extra effort enriching someone else.

I feel a lot like the Occupy  people, except that I have financial obligations which keep me chained to the wheel, going endlessly around, pulverizing the dwindling days of my life into a protein-rich gruel for The Beast of Corporate Profits.  I’m dutifully going to work for The Man, while the Occupy  folks carry my blood and water to the forefront of our Nation’s consciousness.

The whole thing reminds me of a line from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address:

“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces…”

And there it is – the World’s Most Popular Republican talking about slavery, and therein stating a seemingly timeless truth: some  of us expect to profit from the efforts of the rest of us.

It seems wrong on its face, yet it’s ever been that way.

Jesus of Nazareth, the oft-referenced hero of the Radical Right, railed against the making  of personal wealth by the handling  of other people’s money.  As far as I recall, the only time the Man of Peace “went postal” was when he threw the Money-Changers [read: brokers/traders/short-sellers] out of the Temple [read: Wall Street, our current Altar of Avarice.]  And if that wasn’t explicit enough, he went on to proclaim that a camel would pass through the eye of a needle before a rich man passed through the gates of Heaven.

So much for the Mega-Churches which preach that God wants you to be wealthy.  It’s total Fundamentalist Bullshit.

So, how does this relate to our present situation?

Well, we have skads of rich fucks claiming that they deserve  to be rich because they’re better  than you and me, because they’re smarter  than you and me, because the work harder  than you and me.

And I’m here to tell you that that’s MORE BULLSHIT.

I daily watch working folks go home and care for their failing parents, and nobody  is better than that.

I daily watch working folks navigate the rigged-to-fail mazes of their every day lives, and nobody  is smarter than that.

I daily watch working folks operate jack-hammers, and nobody  works harder than that.

Nobody.

Not the Filthy Rich, nobody.

And I think it’s time we all stand up and say so.  I think it’s time we all write our political representatives and DEMAND that THEY say so.  I think it’s time that we all get behind the Occupy movement, with our words and our feet and our dollars, and SAY SO.

This is our  time,  just as it’s the time of the people of Tunisia and Egypt and every other place which demands social and economic justice.

Lincoln wasn’t wrong, Jesus wasn’t wrong, and We The People aren’t wrong either.

The only thing Evil needs to succeed in this world is for Good People to do nothing.

Do  something.  Rise up.  Speak out.

Your children deserve at least that.