Thursday, November 3, 2011

Occupy Wallstreet and The Great Depression

All my life I remember hearing references to, "The Great Depression." Or, "The Depression." It was as though the Depression gave everything else my grandparents and their peers and my parents and their peers experienced a certain context that demanded its presence in their recollections.

From the time I was a little child I remember my grandma telling me about how when the stock market fell men jumped out of the windows of the office buildings in Chicago, to their death. She talked about how she would walk down streets and there were pink marble clocks and dressers and furniture there; precious possessions lost, without a home.

When I was young people used to have throw away piles that the garbage man would pick up. There would be clothes or shoes or odds and ends. When we walked with my grandma there wasn't one of those piles of those things discarded that we didn't pick through. I remember finding a pair of black velvet shoes that fit me perfectly once. They didn't have straps and they were so pretty.

In my generation people kept these things in their garage and put price tags on their miscellaneous things they didn't have any more use for and people who couldn't afford to go to a regular store to buy furniture or books or clothes, found what they needed at these sales.

I remember when the family got together they would laugh so hard. Talking about the old days and how little they had and how they all pooled together their money and some how made it through.

They were able to keep everyone together. Some families weren't so lucky. Some men had to travel far to find work. Many were so desperate they'd do anything for work. They worked under hazardous conditions.

During WWII this was also true. So during the 1940's people got together and fought for their right to represent themselves. And unions became more effective and powerful.

During the 1950's the Industrial Revolution was going strong and the smoke of steel and coal filled the air and the lungs of everyone who lived near them. Water began to kill off fish and plant life. And in the 1960's our environment became a very important issue.

And this time big money figured out how to sway popular opinion through newspapers and the radio and TV and soon the propaganda and a misrepresentation of facts began to make its way into the media. Those who were making money and who didn't want to be slowed down by the EPA or any rules that would cut into their profit margins started buying influence in Washington D.C.

The bankers and insurance companies got more and more powerful. And so did the chemical companies. And some where the 99% of us, we the people, who are being affected by the toxic wasteland that is our inheritance, have been left out in the cold.

So I am glad to see people saying, "This is not good enough. Not anymore." I hope everyone starts to recognize that their relatives and children who have developed cancer and other diseases from reckless policies and a lack of health care will also join with those who have decided the cards have been stacked against them long enough.

You know, it is only fair really. If it wasn't for all of us and our hard work and even with the way we spend our money, those big shots wouldn't have all of the wealth they have hoarded and shipped to wherever. If we invest in a service or education or a product the money we generate through what we do should be re-invested back into our own communities. It is so wrong, what has been done.

And these things have been going on all over the world. The governments and police and lawmakers have turned their backs on the people they are supposed to take care of and people who are crooks and dishonest have paved their way to lives that give them enough cush to ignore everyone who is affected by their greed.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Study history enough and you will see how this has happened on every continent. But maybe, hopefully, enough of us have learned enough to just stop, and not fight, and just stop being slaves anymore to an unjust way of living and working and being represented by those who are supposed to be getting paid by our taxes to make sure we are doing okay.

Look, the human race is fragile. We have all created this mess. We have all looked the over way when we should have been taking personal responsibility for the way things were. All of us. But that doesn't mean we can't stop and decide to make a reasonable, fair and honest difference now. Because we always have now. And that is all we know for sure.

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