Why I Occupy

I attended my first “Occupy” rally and march on Saturday in Santa Barbara. Police escorted us peacefully—about 100-plus—through the streets of Santa Barbara. It was moving, exhilarating and reflective. And for me a real déjà vu experience. Many say the Occupy Wall Street, for that matter, the Tea Party activists have no focus. Ridiculous.

After I was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1969, and wised up , I became a war protestor. We had the Vietnam War as a pinpoint focus but it was also an umbrella issue for other injustices: racism, imperialism, free speech in universities, police brutality, and corporate war power (Dow, media, munitions).

Today simply “injustice” is our banner. When so many American institutions are shattering before our eyes, one finds it hard to isolate a single topic. For now the banks are the culprits—and yes, they are! We gave them a bailout and they kept the money—earned money on the money, paid back the majority of it but never lent it to the consumer. They simply suckered us, lowered the savings rates to near nothing, used the FDIC-protected funds for their purposes and then raised fees. Yes, they are completely reprehensible.

And of course other systems are being trashed as we speak: educational system (teacher pay, arcane tools), health care system (need I say anything?), food system (unhealthy food, corn monopolies, beef scandals), and government system (broken bureaucracies and defense misuses) and environmental betrayals (oil subsidies, slipping EPA standards.)

But what we cannot do is stop voting! Several people said to me at the march that they are simply not going to vote anymore. Right now this is wrong-headed and, next to armed rebellion, voting is best tool we have. President Obama has profoundly disappointed us—duh! But I will still vote for him rather than the current dimwits cluttering the airwaves.

Let us legislate a reduction in campaign time to six months and use only a very limited amount of taxpayer money per candidate without one single dime of corporate money for campaigns. Let’s see how clever the presidential candidate can be with half a million dollars?

However, I do urge everyone to vote—early and often as they say!

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