The following is my message supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. I do not pretend to represent the opinions of each citizen engaged in this constitutional right to protest. This is my opinion. Having been to Zuccotti Park, seeing and hearing the participants of this brave exercise of democracy, I do believe that I am on the same page, and the following is my message. If you choose to print it in its entirety, then you, who claim to represent the fourth estate are too participating in what our democracy is supposed to be. If not, so be it.
We have come to a point in modern history where we, America, have been taken over by the oligarchs. People of extreme wealth and influence have overwhelmed our democracy. Access to our representatives, our senators, and our governors at local, state and federal levels have been hijacked by the rich and powerful. The middle and working class citizens of this country, the people who have built this country, the people who have taught us, clothed us, built our roads, healed us, protected us and worked in offices for those in power, have been ignored and swept aside. The poor are not even a thought to those in power.
The rich and powerful have figured out a way to earn their wealth with out us. The rich and powerful have figured out how to make a profit on the cheap. They have exported our jobs and taken advantage of cheap labor overseas and here at home. They have found a way to exclude the middle class and make lots of money doing so. They contribute nothing to society, they make nothing and they give nothing back. They think they can continue on this course without consequence. They are wrong!
There are two different groups of this wealthy class: those who are the money managers and those who are the product peddlers. The money managers think they are independent of the working class and don't need us. The product peddlers use us and our common space without contributing to it. The money managers have created an artificial world of selling debt without good conscience in doing so. They have set up a system with little or no rules. The product peddlers use our roads, air and tunnels to transport their goods that we buy -- all supported and paid for by taxpaying citizens. Yes, we buy and use their products. We are not against corporations, we are not against capitalism, we are not against earning an honest wage and profit. One could argue that this movement could not have grown without the use of products like the computer and cell phone crucial for communication and clothes and sleeping bags keeping those brave enough to sleep in the parks battling the elements and exercising their constitutional rights -- products often manufactured by people in far away countries paid poorly for their efforts. Americans have grown accustomed to buying and using many products that have, in many ways, eased their lives. But at what price? We get that, but I don't think those in power do. We are a community. We share a common space and common tools to exist. We the working and middle class are being used and stretched beyond our means so that those at the top can stay there, without shared sacrifice. What we ask for is fairness, and right now, it is extremely clear that those at the top of the economic ladder have a tremendous advantage that has hurt this country deeply.
There are 46.2 million people in America living in poverty in the richest country on Earth. One million of them are seniors, one and half million are children. More than one hundred thousand are veterans. How did that happen? What do we do about the poorest among us? What kind of nation is this that does not look after its weakest, its sickest, its disabled, its children, its elders and its veterans? What does that say about who we are as a nation?
We realize that the vote has been bought and suppressed. The idea that corporations have individual rights as expressed recently by the Supreme Court tells just how far corruption in our system has gone. The allowance of corporate interests to anonymously pay for opinion to sway voters however they see fit is an injustice of our democracy and needs to be changed. The oppressive monetary influence has got to be stopped!
We the people are here to speak truth to power. We are here to tell our representatives, our senators, our governors and our president that we have had enough. We are fed up with trying to just get by. We are fed up with being ignored. We are fed up with health insurance companies price gouging us. We are fed up with choosing one child to put on our health insurance plan because we can't afford two. We are fed up with oil companies price gouging us and then polluting our water, our earth and sky. We are fed up with men dying in coal mines. We are fed up with college being affordable to only the rich. We are fed up with undocumented workers being used like slaves. We are fed up with being told to buy things because that's what makes the rich richer. We are fed up with leaders who lie us into wars to make a profit. We are fed up with those who complain government is the problem and then beg the government and the taxpayers to save them when they act foolishly. We are fed up with those in government who complain about government. We are fed up with government officials being auctioned off to the highest bidder and our voices snuffed out as a result. We are fed up with being told that we are the problem.
To Mr. President and all of our public officials, listen up: we are not the problem, greed is the problem, hubris is the problem, deregulation is the problem, no accountability is the problem, no rules are the problem. We have had enough!
President Theodore Roosevelt once said:
"We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living -- a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit of reasonable saving for old age."
May I remind all those listening that our standard of living and our ability to earn a living wage has been diminished. We are earning less, and for the first time in decades, our younger generation is being deprived of the right to aspire to a better life than their parents. We as a people are losing our capacity to earn a living wage as described by Theodore Roosevelt.
We the people want you to listen to us now. We want our voices to be heard. All we have left is this moment, this time here together out in the streets. Making our voices heard is all we have left as we have no money to pay for the privilege which should be our right. We invite you to come here to talk with us, to listen to us, to find out what needs to be done to make our country great again.
We fear that our democracy is at risk. We fear that the many soldiers throughout our history may have given their lives for naught. We fear that the gilded age of robber barons, which ill-served this country, has returned to bring great harm to this great nation only to serve a few. We fear that a plutocracy is replacing our democratic system of governance.
We want fairness, we want the power of the people, we want a democratic system of government that insures that the people's voices will be heard and not bought. We want equal access. We want to be able to earn a living wage. If you want our support, if you want our vote, then you must listen to us. Because we shall not be moved until you do. Just like the tree standing by the water, we shall not be moved.