Occupy movement brings a vital message

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To the editor:

Now, more than ever, Americans should understand how vital the Occupy movement's public awakening to unchecked corporate power and greed is to our country.

Evidence of corrupt, corporate coziness abounds in Washington these days. Twisted allegiances, of course, have been fueling the unprecedented ugly, partisan gridlock on The Hill.

A relentlessly obstructionist Republican Party has consistently refused to raise taxes on its fat cat Wall Street pals, and instead, calls for cutting crucial social programs for tens of millions of struggling citizens in these landmark desperate times.

No other single fact demonstrates the alarming degree to which the once called "moral majority party" now is virtually devoid of any tangible traces of human compassion or values.

This doesn't let Democrats or the White House off the hook.

But conservatives clearly are encroaching on the side of criminal. The latest Republican haggling over extending the payroll tax cuts for the middle class only bolsters this disturbing truth.

And unbelievably, we recently learned that the same sort of exorbitant executive salaries uncovered during the 2008 economic crisis -- and that Occupy Wall Street has been protesting -- persist at the bailed out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Contrary to the absurd elitist propaganda some are peddling, the last thing this troubled country needs is less government regulation of its financial institutions, which seem to grow more powerful with each passing crisis.

The signs are increasingly evident. America no longer belongs to the people. Big business owns and runs this country at the vast expense of its citizens. Period.

So, where do we go from here?

For starters, Occupy has laid the groundwork for desperately needed change. The growing disparity between the rich and the poor only will be exacerbated by us doing nothing.

We need to build on that newly-formed foundation for freedom. We can't fool ourselves, thinking that our vote on Election Day will set things straight. We can't wait that long. And simply casting our vote isn't enough anymore. We have to speak up now. Today. Tomorrow.

If Americans are serious about breaking the stranglehold of the powerful, greedy and corrupt on our lives, we have to follow Occupy Wall Street's lead and start challenging, at every turn, undue gluttonous corporate influence in Washington.

As Occupy groups across the nation increasingly face eviction from their encampments and regroup, we can't lose focus of key reform issues at the forefront of the movement. Citizen demands for lobbyist reform, increased oversight of financial institutions, scrapping the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and a financial transaction tax are among matters that should be foremost in our alleged representatives’ minds.

It's about time that at least the richest of the rich -- multimillionaires and billionaires --start pitching in their fair share of taxes to help ease the nation's deficit burden. Indeed, to whom much is given, much is expected.

That said, the timing is right for Occupy to evolve into something more, as we are witnessing. It's been two and half months since occupiers first started their vigil in Zuccotti Park in Wall Street's financial district. The cat's out of the bag.

You don't necessarily have to pitch a tent to protest. And while authentic change typically isn't smooth or pretty, public space campsites in the midst of the holidays, risks antagonizing the very folks Occupy is trying to empower.

Surely, the movement could also stand to differentiate itself from some of the more opportunistic joiners -- like the face painted zombie-like characters, for instance -- who only tend to detract from the cause.

So, Occupy's peaceful marches and new found presence in Washington are a good thing.

Surely the naysayers, who tend to dwell on the right, will insist on trivializing the movement by casually dismissing the Occupy protesters as a bunch of crybaby freeloaders.

But those who buy that are just part of the problem. And they play right into the hands of the comfortably indifferent power mongers, who squirm in their seats and blindly cast aspersions at the first sign of anything that threatens their ill-gotten gains.

Much of Occupy's “message” problem can be explained by the sheer multitude of injustices that continue to benefit corporate entities, while penalizing the people.

Just follow the money. The crooked corporate influence on Capital Hill is so entrenched and widespread, impacting so many facets of American life. Mega banks, the defense armament industry, oil and drug companies all have their grubby hands in the American pie.

After the obscenely rich and greedy are finished gorging themselves and paying off their puppet politician pals, there's barely anything left for the average honest, hardworking American.

And there's not a thing democratic, truthful or just about that. You can call it capitalism. Essentially though, it amounts to flat-out thievery.

Kevin McKinney

Cape May



(Kevin McKinney is a freelance writer for a variety of print and online publications. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )



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