POSTED ON NOVEMBER 9, 2011:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Responses to the Occupy Movement
I noticed the UTW cover a few weeks ago featured a rather angry-looking young woman (GrrrTulsa?) as part of the Occupy Wall Street phenomena UTW reported on ("Quit Whining About Student Loans," Oct. 27-Nov. 2 issue). Since Tulsa doesn't have a Wall Street, I guess that's how we got to Occupy Tulsa. It brings back fond memories of my post-college days. I had graduated magna cum laude from a prestigious school. And not only did I not get a single recruiter visit in my field to my college campus, there was no job at all waiting for me upon graduation (this was right after the Penn Square Bank failure and subsequent oil bust of 1982). Seething with rage, I did what any sane person would do. I beat up businessmen in parking lots. I blew up buildings. I shot people. I took dumps in public water fountains. I didn't bathe for months. I set up a soapbox on a busy street in downtown Oklahoma City and shouted my tale of woe at the top of my lungs. Finally, one day a wealthy businessman came along, spotted me maiming people and causing property damage, and said, "That boy's got spunk". He hired me on the spot. And that's how I became an evil corporate CEO. Just kidding. I didn't do any of those things. What really happened was I odd-jobbed around for a few years, eventually went to a trade school, learned a profession, and finally got ramped into the career I wanted. It was hard work. It was stressful. It took years to really get off the ground. It's just that at no point did I waste energy trying to blame my misfortunes on someone else. Because I understood then at age 22 what a lot of people pushing 50 (Rall) still don't get: life is tough, no one owes you a living. There will be misfortune. You will have obstacles. Overcome them. We should think long and hard before blowing the "getting a college degree is a ticket to the good life" smoke up young people's butts. It wasn't true in my day, and it isn't true now. Life doesn't offer guarantees. Maybe if someone had ever bothered to teach them that, newspapers wouldn't be wasting ink on OccupyWhatever, and the 20-something's out doing the occupying wouldn't be wasting their time.
I was glad to see the Occupy Wall Street movement form. I thought I was the only one aware that the people running this country are running it into the ground. I am glad to see that other people have been paying attention as well.
When we repealed the Glass-Steagill act it de-regulated banking and opened our financial markets to the types of abuses that were rampant in the 1920s that led to the enactment of Glass-Steagill in the first place.
We have the largest economy in the world, yet we are broke and in debt. What is up with that? Too much skimming off the top? Sounds like the people running this country need to start doing their jobs.
Capitalism is not some sacred cow. It has its problems just like any system. The existence of money automatically creates different economic classes and the struggle between the haves and the have-nots. This struggle came to a head in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The excesses of the rich led to the formation of labor unions, safety standards in the workplace, safety nets such as social security and unemployment insurance. These programs were created in response to practices implemented by the rich to squeeze a little more profit out of the working class. The average life expectancy of an Appalachian miner was 26 years of age. Amputation and serious injuries were commonplace in industry at this time. The injured were replaced in the line with no compensation and no social security disability. Class warfare is not something new; it has been taking place since the beginning and is an inherent part of the capitalist system.
It is an ongoing process. A hundred years ago due to the excesses of the ruling class it swung towards labor. This led to policies that protected and stabilized the middle class and created a period of prosperity. Then in the 1980s government policy began favoring the rich again. When one class prospers it is always at the expense of another class. Thus we see the decline of the middle class. The idea is to find the balance between the two, where not just one person or group prospers but society as a whole prospers. Imbalance will bring down any system. Our decline is taking place now, and quickly. If something doesn't change it will soon be too late.
Also OWS should not be compared to the tea party. The tea party was an attempt at change but they are just another brand of republican, another part of the democrat and republican dance. Both parties have sold out to the highest bidder. They don't represent the people, they represent the money. That's one of the main causes of our current problems. We need to take the money out of politics. OWS is an attempt at something new, outside of the political mud.
Livin' the Dream
My name is Robert Gonzo. I'm 25 yrs old and I believe in every word that you wrote about dreamers and "Dream Assassins" (Oct. 27-Nov. 2 issue). I am a dreamer and I've never let anyone put down my dream. I have come across many assassins in my life and never once have I let it stop me; bother me, yes, but that's about it. When I was young everyone told me music is something that you can't get but I was born to make music and nothing is ever going to stop me from expressing that music. I stand on the corner, I go to open mics, and I set up Facebook. I do whatever I can -- it's all about what medium you can conquer now and the same for every dream. Nobody should ever stop dreaming everyone should put that little voice inside and back away and just do it. There is a reason why big dreamers are so misunderstood by everyone before they become who they are. Because they were never meant to be like anyone else.
Thank you for the article "Dream Assassins"(Oct. 27-Nov. 2 issue). I am going to laminate it. God is speaking to me through your words.
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