Occupy Wall Street protests
When I visited the Occupy Lexington demonstration, someone suggested I read Leland Conway's op-ed on the protest. What followed was a journey into Never-never Land.
It took only two paragraphs to identify a closed mind in action: "Hundreds of people across the country have been gathering in front of banks and financial centers to protest, er, something," he wrote. In what molehill does this guy reside?
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His conclusion was that we should all thank God Almighty for capitalism and stop criticizing its infallibility. If the capitalists want to rape, steal and maim, it is our duty to fall down and express everlasting gratitude. Somehow, I sensed objectivity was not in Conway's mental toolkit.
Then I read the footnote describing him as "a radio talk-show host" and the cloud lifted. Names like Rush Limbaugh and other demented ideologues who would gladly sacrifice productive societies for another million dollars swept away any doubts relative to the author.
That Wall Street banks had wrecked America and world economies mattered not. That people had been needlessly and, in many cases, illegally evicted from their homes as bankers engaged in irresponsible, probably criminal, activities was hardly reason for Conway and his ilk to be concerned. That our government, which supposedly exists to serve all the people, had bailed them out and forgiven them their sins only reinforced Conway's dedication to greed.
Marie Antoinette's alleged quote stands tall: "Let them eat cake." Clearly, Conway should open and close his radio broadcast with that thought.
Ronald L. Bontsema
Focus on the Fed
Occupy Wall Street is protesting the wrong place; they should be protesting the Federal Reserve. Putting an end to the Federal Reserve is the one sure way to restore sanity to economic and political life in this country.
The national wealth would no longer be hostage to the whims of a handful of appointed bureaucrats whose interests are divided between serving the banking cartel and serving the most powerful politicians in Washington. The banking industry needs its welfare check ended.
From its founding in 1913, secrecy and inside deals have been part of the way the Federal Reserve works. The Fed came about during a period of our history in which business became infatuated with the idea of forming cartels as a way of protecting profits and socializing losses.
The largest banks were no exception. They were very unhappy that there was no national lender of last resort that they could depend on to bail them out in times of crisis. With no bailout mechanism in place, they had to sink or swim on their own merits. The banking industry has always had trouble with the idea of a free market that provides opportunities for both profits and losses. The first part, the industry likes. The second part is another issue.
The coalition of government and big bankers is called the Federal Reserve, the instrument by which our money and credit are constantly manipulated for the benefit of a privileged class.
Pushing for collapse
The Wall Street protesters are wanting to shut down the banks, large corporations, oil companies and capitalism in general. They want the wealthy to pay more than they are. They want things to change, but what happens if they get what they want? Total chaos.
They don't realize the reason we have a great standard of living here is because of freedom and capitalism.
Steven Jobs started in his garage with an idea. He wasn't subsidized by the government. He used the resources he had to develop Apple into a top company employing a lot of people and contributing to the world.
Where will all of our essentials come from if the system collapsed? The government? That's a scary thought. A collapse will destroy our country. Do you think China and Russia will wait for us to get it together and help us with aid?
The protest has been set up by union leaders and communist and socialist organizations across the country. This is not grassroots as the media tells you, it is a plot to destroy capitalism.
They have gotten the crowds fired up through class warfare and indoctrination of the evils of greed in business when in fact it is the greed for power by politicians that has caused most of our problems. When your objective is to collapse the system, which in turn would collapse our government, it is an act of treason and should be treated as such — not the protesters, but the organizers.
Harry Van Epps
A disservice is being done to the protestors on Wall Street and around the country. News coverage has been late and insufficient. In attempts to discredit protestors, critics say they have no message and that they're hippies and homeless people. The news media typically reinforce these views or doesn't address them.
The protestors represent Americans everywhere. They're teachers, doctors, students, union members, the unemployed and more. They are standing up to say: "Enough, it's time to take our country back. It's time to fight for the rights of the 99 percent of Americans who aren't rich."
They're fighting for people who've been affected by the bank crisis, the failing economy and the government's handling of it all. They are fighting for all of us to take back control of our government. Wall Street, the banks and so many large corporations have bought the politicians and in doing so they've bought our government.
The government no longer fights for every American. It fights for power and the richest one percent. Protestors are doing what every American should be: fighting for our rights.
Movement about unity
People have come from all walks of life and across the political spectrum to walk together in solidarity against the corporate takeover of our country. Corporate money is used to misinform the public, in order to buy the politicians most likely to continue supporting corporate practices.
Our democracy has turned into a plutocracy, where the only voices heard by the politicians are those of the corporate lobbyists.
The rest of America has spoken out about the economic injustice, only to find that our voices are nothing against the power of a corporation's multi-million dollar campaign donation. Many people have gone so long with their voice not being heard, they've stopped talking.
It's time to stand up for our rights as citizens. We have a right to tell our political leaders how we want our country to be run, and they have the responsibility to listen. Maybe you can't donate a million dollars to a campaign or pay a lobbyist; that doesn't mean your voice is any less important. Regardless of your political views, how many times have you felt your voice wasn't being heard? How long have you wondered who your representatives actually represent?
This movement isn't about division — it's about unity. A corporation isn't a person — you are. You deserve to have your voice heard.
Find middle ground
During a recent news program on the Occupy Wall Street protests, the words compromise and revolution were repeatedly brought forth as the only possible descriptors of the outcome. Are those really the only two possible outcomes?
The historical, semantic and emotional baggage that each term carries makes it difficult to advocate for either one. Revolution is the easier one to discount, as serious people would only support that in the most extreme of conditions. Current political theater has so effectively demonized the concept of compromise that rational discussion of it is nearly impossible.
I would therefore like to suggest a new word to help move us forward: "compromution" or radical compromise. Instead of endlessly hammering away at our known differences, we would actively seek out those aspects of an issue we can agree on. We, and our political leaders, will be able say to each other "I think you are wrong on X, but I agree on Y and Z, so let's take a look at those."
I am ready. Let's start the Compromution.