What Does OWS Mean

What does OWS (Occupy Wall Street) mean? Without trying to be funny or cutesy with my question, I am quite serious in looking for clarity surrounding the demonstrations.

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s I am all too familiar with demonstrations. There were demonstrations for Civil Rights and to end the Vietnam War. People were killed during both events. The National Guard opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State University and killed four of them. Civil Rights advocates, both Afro-American and whites were killed during these troubling and changing times. However, both of these movements had a common thread….that thread through the eye of the needle of complacency regarding the way things were and to obey what the government said without questioning, was an ultimate and well defined goal for change. Those goals were clearly articulated, thereby informing everyone of their mission.

This nation passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, The Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 and the Vietnam War ended. Citizens who were fed up with certain aspects of this country made those concerns known to all. No one had to guess what the underlying agendas were. Now fast forward to the fall of 2011 and the chaos currently taking place in our cities.

A close friend telephoned me last evening inquiring what I thought the OWS was all about. Honestly, I could not offer up a definitive answer. Some people demonstrating are pro union, others are anti government, many are upset with the banks and Wall Street, many are concerned they don’t have jobs, some are concerned about huge college loan debt, etc. The demonstrators offer up a smorgasbord of humankind. College professors, religious leaders, progressive leaning entertainers, and those with low paying jobs are sprinkled in with the homeless, old and young hippies, people looking for a free ride on the backs of others, veterans groups and union members. It is a diverse group, to say the least. Yet, I am still left baffled by what the common bonding agent of the glue is that keeps folks together. Does anyone reading this post know why?

I often tell people that as I have aged I now have more questions than answers when it comes to life in general. So I’m asking for feedback regarding what the real and defining issues are behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. Please enlighten me and perhaps educate anyone else who may be reading this.

Thank you.

 

Dennis L. Page


 

Don’t Go Uncle Sam

Joey Citizen’s job performance reviews were outstanding, but to increase company profits, the organization moved its operation offshore. Soon he lost his job, health insurance and the bank foreclosed on his house. With a tarp tied between two trees, Joey was living in a public park, until a corporation bought the park and forced him to relocate so they could do logging and drill for oil and gas.

 

While seeking another place to live Mr. Citizen was accosted and robbed. He couldn’t call the police because they were basically nonexistent and only the wealthy could afford to hire private protection. So, with a few dollars hidden in his sock Joey needed to go to the store, yet couldn’t afford to walk on the privately owned streets that charged to use them. Cutting through the well maintained, manicured lawns of the mega rich he noticed his old neighborhood on fire. No fire trucks, nor fire personnel responded because they didn’t exist anymore. After all, it takes a lot of money to run a fire department.

 

The store Joey needed to go to was on the other side of a badly deteriorating bridge, now owned by a private investor. He was forced to pay an outrageous toll to cross, but the operator couldn’t do the math in order to make change because there were no longer public schools open and quite frankly, an educational system for the public was deemed too expensive. Looking at the stream below the bridge, Mr. Citizen noticed all of the dead fish floating in the water that was spewing a misty fog of noxious toxic fumes. The Environmental Protection Agency didn’t exist and the paper mill upstream was apparently lax in self regulating.

 

Joey Citizen discovered the area on the other side of the bridge devastated by yet another flood. Stores, businesses, homes, senior centers, apartment complexes, ambulances, cars and trucks had either been washed away or covered in several feet of sludge. The region was eerily quiet. Not one person was rebuilding as the streets lay dormant amongst all of the debris. It seems as though the politicians felt the Federal Emergency Management Agency needed to be disbanded as a cost cutting measure. Additionally, no Department of Public Works trucks were present either because local government had shuttered their doors. The public relation spin machines had successfully convinced the naïve that government employees only took from the taxpayers and didn’t contribute anything to society. Alas, this type of thinking had created another “sink hole” of emotional, psychological and financial despair.

 

Billionaires and large corporations had won the class warfare, by keeping the masses ignorant, hungry for whatever scraps were thrown their way, working for low wages, with no medical benefits and informing the public through news organizations they controlled and operated. Exhibiting expertise in smoke and mirrors, the billionaires and corporations had side swiped the majority with issues of pro life, immigration, war, gun ownership and the evils of government. Now they were the kings and queens with their courts and the remainder of society acted as the peasants. An uprising of unprecedented proportions was sure to happen.

 

Lo and behold the people revolted. However, it wasn’t a few people or one hundred, one thousand, or one hundred thousand. This time the masses had had enough and the revolution involved millions. The ultra wealthy had never worn a military uniform, so they certainly didn’t know how to defend themselves from their aggressors. Subsequently, due to the philosophies they lived by, the National Guard was considered irrelevant and didn’t exist anymore. The people won the battle and a country was reborn.

 

Unfortunately for Joey Citizen, he wasn’t able to live long enough to bear witness to the taking back of his nation. Mr. Citizen died of medical complications from a disease, simply due to the fact his co-pay and medical insurance deductibles were so high. It didn’t seem fair then and it doesn’t seem fair now that one life is valued higher than another. In order to survive as a people and a nation we need our government. We need education. We need police, fire and the National Guard. We need a strong infrastructure and one that is safe. Also, we need governmental regulations in an ongoing effort to protect the public from cost cutting greed that undermines our safety and our health. Yes, government does play a vital role in the lives of all citizens and we need to be protected!