Democracy, are you still there?
Last October, when Occupy Seattle was only an encampment in Westlake Park, I ventured downtown with a friend to see what it was all about. We were impressed with the variety and sincerity of the protesters, and their messages resonated for me: we are the 99%, the rich are getting too rich on the backs of the poor, restore American values and the middle class, bring back democracy.
I began participating in meetings, especially the working group called Get Money out of Politics (“GMOP”). I joined nationwide conference calls for the national working group focusing on this same issue. These people are inspiring. All ages, all backgrounds and income/educational levels – bright, creative, cooperative – motivated by what I call our national values of freedom, compassion and fairness.
Here’s a photo from a recent GMOP meeting – they’re held at our beautiful Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
Some people may think Occupy Wherever has packed up their tents and gone home, bowing to police or winter or just petering out. They will see. The “occupation” of so many public places has served its purpose: to get our attention. And now the movement begins.
January 20 and 21 will mark the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that narrowly (5-4) gave corporations the same “free speech” rights as real people, allowing them to donate unlimited money to political campaigns, anonymously. Just wait for next summer. Big Money will drown TV programming with short, shallow ads which will buy the results of many races.
In Seattle on those dates, a coalition of many groups including Occupy Seattle, Move to Amend, and WA Public Campaigns, is currently planning a march, a couple of rallies, some brilliant street theater, concerts, and other events to promote the need to amend the Constitution to clarify that only people are entitled to free speech. Similar events will happen that weekend across the country.
A Constitutional amendment is the only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision. Many city councils across the U.S. have recently passed a resolution, which is then passed on to the voters, advocating such an amendment. So far, the cities include Los Angeles, New York City, Boulder, Missoula, and Duluth. Voters agree, by around 75%. We are working on Seattle and King County to get with it!
I know some of you disagree with my liberal views and activism. That’s fine, this is a democracy. But I can’t be honest with myself and hide my political views. It’s time to take a stand. This is our moment to start cleaning up our government and restoring our democracy. The Occupy movement is providing the energy and visibility to make it happen. Count me in!