Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Denver and beyond...

So as you may surmise from my letter to Governor Hickenlooper (below), there was a ban in place on camping in front of the capitol building downtown which Occupy Denver petitioned to have waivered in order to keep on with their protests in the same way the Occupy Wall Street protests have been. They continue to wait for an answer as far as I know but I don't expect they will be allowed to sleep there. The reason this ban exists? The short story about is that several years ago a homeless group wanted to protest in front of the Capital Building by pitching tents and camping to portray the plight of the homeless. Unfortunately for them, homelessness isn't a circumstance too many people want to see as they drive by the Capital Building or want to have visuals of on their main drag so nobody really cared when the state banned camping on the property. After all it made sense that it was a "safety issue." That it was an assault on their first amendment right to keep them from protesting and that it would have the added bonus of stifling future protests... well, no one really gave that much thought. In the heat of the moment, it was just a bunch of stupid homeless people who wanted to clutter up the front of the Capital Building. So now...

Occupy Denver is downtown and they have been protesting in the same way that the protesters have in New York have been. They are setting up a community to remind us all that what is going on on Wall Street is hurting us all. They have no particular demands or agenda. They are not of a particular party line- not left or right. They are just tired of the wealthiest 1% (or 5% depending on which chart you're looking at) having the ability to control our political party and steal the American dream and they want things to change. And they aren't going to allow the democratic party or the republican party to lie to them anymore and tell them that they are going to change things when all they continue to do is bend over further for the wealthiest 1-5%. That's it! That's all it is about.

But this is incredibly threatening to the powers that be. Here in Denver, the Mayor is looking with disdain upon the protesters. Our governor threatened, and did follow through, with having them arrested. Friday morning, state troopers, dressed in riot gear carried them out and then arrested them for being on state property after the allotted time. It was all quite quiet and there was no macing (probably attributable to this being the state troopers and NOT the Denver Police as they are far more aggressive in their tactics- that story for another time) but the real story here is:
They don't want any of us to speak up and say that what is going on on Wall Street and in our government is wrong. They don't want things to change, not one iota. And if you will note that when there were the first signs of dissent, they tried to ignore it. Then they tried to marginalize it and make fun of it (just a bunch of hippies and dope smokers, lazy people who won't find a job!), now they are becoming more aggressive and they are trying to shut it down. Some on the left are trying to pull the message of Occupy into the party and quash it the way the republicans did the Tea-party (and you might try to say the Republicans are ruled by the tea-party but tea-partiers will tell you differently. This is not the Republican party they wanted in many respects) But what they'd really rather have us doing? watching football or obsessing about Jen and Brad and Angelina or getting a new iphone and being too obsessed with our new toy to care about the government and those guys in New York. And they want you to believe that if you keep quiet- even though you may be buried in debt (school, mortgage, credit card, etc.)- that as long as you play fair, they'll give you a fair shot at being the next big millionaire, JUST LIKE THEM!
But here's the dirty little secret: They've rigged the game. The odds are better that you'll win the lottery than be a millionaire by playing fair with the boys on Wall Street. And odds are better that you'll get hit by lightening than you'll win the lottery! And that's what the people that are protesting have finally had enough of... a rigged game. They want a fair game. And so do I. And we should be allowed to protest on our streets and sleep there if necessary.  We should be allowed to exercise our first amendment rights.
Governor Hickenlooper- Please allow the protestors to camp in front of the Capital Building!  

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