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Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's A Good Thing

DC March For Sanity (Lindo, 2010)
Sometimes, in life, you are lucky enough to know it's time to take a stand. There are suddenly big clear choices and issues of justice at stake. And at those times, if you are VERY lucky, you can be part of history as well. You can boldly go where no one has gone before on a global level. You can seek out new forms of government, more representative of the People, give Gov a new life, and create a new definition of Civilization, of being a citizen of Earth.

(Lindo, 2011)
One of our friends calls the Occupiers horrible things and suggests violence against them, repeatedly.  (He) says I've 'drank the koolaid', tells me to 'fu@k off' for posting video of Occupy events (Sorry for the language, but we're just quoting here). We are talking informative, no comment videos, just people sharing. He says they are the 'lowest of the low', these people who attend Occupy Wall Street events, and that everyone in New York hates the protesters. He's honestly one of the smartest people we know, and yet, he thinks its just a huge anti-Israeli, anarchist movement that will end up destroying us all in the end. And even stranger, he lives on the Upper East Side. I'm just sayin'.
In the video below, Dr. Spence was answering the question, "Why are you here?" That's something that each of these people at these events seem to be pretty clear on. From "How my goin' pay my rent?" to "What rules will these camp outs live by?" every day is a clear and structured growth model for figuring out why these people are gathering.
 Dr. Lester Spence at Occupy Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
Asst. Professor of Political Science, Africana Studies, Hopkins University
When you are a Policy Geek, it usually doesn't happen by accident. Usually you start out as some other type of geek, like a sports geek, or a stats geek, or a trekkie. And when that happens, and you combine that with the age of one who can remember a time without cell phones, or even cable, then every day now is a miracle. iTablets and wireless this and picture frames with video by the bed; twitter and Facebook and the very concept of Social Media is like living in Kubrick's 2001.  And now this, this worldwide instant communication series of events. In the utopia of Star Trek, direct democracy, freedom of speech, equality, fairness, justice, these were/are the ideals. Now, to see it in action, everywhere, real time, sharing, being, its very exciting. Its the energy of the world all going in the same direction. At least that's what we all hope it is. Perhaps its the potential power of the fringe that scares our FB friend. But this not-gonna-take-it-anymore crowd seems more focused on moving forward in the right direction, then letting the 1% steer the 99% even one more day.
So we are for this thing. This growing thing. And to our friend we say, "teach me, tell me. How could direct democracy fail?" 
Here's one anonymous quote from a protester at #OccupyDenver:  "Can't you be patriotic, support your nation's President and the troops and still be in the streets marching and occupying? Can't you love peace and cry out to end all the wars, knowing full well that we would still nation build? We are held to it by our Military Industrial Complex, after all. So we move to Africa, and we save lives and fight some real bad guys and help them replace real infrastructure. Africa will be the new frontier. And we know that money giant will be extremely hard to put on a diet so the Pentagon has to eat something. Since there are military offices in every county in the United States...that'll be harder to change, but isn't it patriotic just the same to want our troops to be home? Home and safe?"
(Lindo, 2011)
Admittedly, we can see no exit strategy, or pack out day ahead, and we suppose this is a weather permitting kind of thing. Nonetheless, you must appreciate how the Occupy movement is growing, its fine beginnings, and the quality of the people supporting the movement. And after careful research and intense outreach, twitter and YouTube hours, it appears to us as though thoughtful people all over the world in solutionary solidarity are standing up to Usury and Perfidy!! In fact, we're sure of it. The simple fact that they have free libraries set up at each encampment to share intelligent background on history and government and the state of our Congress today and the Constitution, et al says so much. Transparency at its most purist form. With all that, there are ridiculous fringe, what we would call 'out of the ballpark thinking' individuals there talking about conspiracies and the Fed and mind control, but by and large the distillation from each work group seems sane and well thought out.
What we mean to say is, if you really believe in Democracy, then you must believe in Democracy! right? And so you take a stand, FOR SOMETHING and not just against the GOP, but FOR justice, for ecological sustainability, and for intelligent solutionary debate on the economy and our futures as citizens of the world!!
If you have been paying attention you are daily correcting someone who thinks that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) doesn't have a message or that they are a bunch of kids or that the press isn't covering it. Those are all false concepts. The meme was planned for several months leading up to the Global Day of Action yesterday. 
(Lindo, 2011)
We've been to the one in Baltimore and took video and photos, also NY, DC, and they are talking about alternative currencies, like the Baltimore Buck (kind of like a Disney dollar, honored by 126 stores in Baltimore) in an effort to take money out of the system. They supported the idea of taking money out of commercial banks and putting your money in credit unions. They talk about creating legislation to protect the consumer, like what the Consumer Protection Agency is supposed to do but is instead being blocked by the GOP. 

Now that all these fights are happening openly, with respectful debate, we must also think about the 2012 elections. The more people we hear from, the clearer it is that President Obama needs to be reelected with as many Democrats as we can cram into 2012. Not arguing, just saying on that level, moving forward, he's gotta be your guy. As a Progressive. If you don't think so, then you might as well stop reading now, because we definitely are not going to see eye to eye over the months ahead.

(CBS, 2011)
DC's Miles Maestas says, "It easy to label people and wage partisan and ideological warfare. It's easy to do that. What's hard is to bridge differences and ask people to be better citizens. This is what's asked of us -- to be engaged, caring and active citizens right now. If you're already doing all you can, great. You're the perfect candidate to teach others how you do what you do. Get a view of the big picture and be responsible for painting a part of it. Thanks for participating in this big, ongoing responsibility of self-governance."

George Lakoff says, "The basic idea is this: Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment."  To read more about Mr. Lakoff's work: http://georgelakoff.com/2011/04/17/obama-returns-to-his-moral-vision-democrats-read-carefully/ Lots of his books are listed and available through that link as well. 
Consensus (Occupy Wall Street, 2011)
They/We talk about getting out the vote and one fascinating democratic vote after another, with all concerns heard and voiced before voting. Its just beautiful. This many people getting involved and caring about our nation's future. This blog, for one, will not be found writing about how they are failing just yet. And the above video is a really well shot and edited look into the birth of this movement from its Ground Zero (excuse the expression).

(CBS, 2011)

Its growing, its popular, and people who know how to build a society from the ground up are participating in the discussions. Educators, union members, city councils all voting to support these actions. It's a good thing. It's a very good thing. It will be a New Republic, if we can keep it.

And since they don't seem to be going home just yet, looks like I'll be here typing. And carving pumpkins.

Lisa, The Policy Geek

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