February 19, 2012
Another view of OWS
As you may know, I have written a couple of articles recently concerning the OWS protests. I applauded these folks for courageously standing up and beginning the fight to regain control of our country by and for we the people. My main criticism of OWS has been the slogan of "99 vs. 1" that they have chosen to adopt. I do believe that our nation's many problems have mainly been caused by wealthy and powerful organizations of every kind with their increasing ability to influence laws and regulations in their favor. However, to blame all the wealthy diverts attention from our elected lawmakers in Washington who are supposed to protect us from the normal and expected greed of the powerful special interests of every kind.
Today I include an excerpt from a guest editorial written by the brother of one of our local residents for his own local newspaper. My thanks to Bob Gray for sharing this document that was written by his brother Joe Gray. Thanks also to Joe for allowing me to share this in my column.
From: Joe Gray
You might have noticed us on the street corner in downtown Martinsburg with signs that say things such as "Social and Economic Justice" or "Take Back Our Government from Corporate Control."
We call ourselves "Occupy Martinsburg," and we share common values and concerns with Occupy Wall Street and the rest of the Occupy movement.
There are many reasons why we "occupy." Many of us are concerned with what we see as a loss of social and economic justice in this country.
The most obvious examples include:the bailing out of Wall Street, with financiers making excessive profits; evicting homeowners while their homes are bulldozed and the people go homeless; and exporting of our jobs while huge stores that sell almost nothing made in the USA pay poverty-level wages.
The gap between rich and poor has widened greatly in recent years and now rivals only that of the period just prior to the Great Depression.
We feel powerless to correct these problems because we feel that our government is no longer responsive to us.
We "occupy" because we believe we have arrived at a place in this country where our government responds more to wealthy corporate interests than to the people. We believe strongly that the government must be controlled only by the people.
I recently reread the Declaration of Independence, and this is the part that stood out for me:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ... "
I repeat, "Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
A Supreme Court decision issued nearly two years ago, known as Citizens United, concluded that corporations are people and therefore entitled to free speech. They also concluded that money is a form of speech and that corporations cannot be restricted in the amounts they may spend to support a political candidate.