Today marks the day that I had the effrontery to stick my neck out lol. Undoubtedly, I will be labeled by some as crazy or, at the very least, as an ideologue. I do not care. Great aspirations are not attained without risk and this, such as it were, is a tiny rock whose ripples I hope will spread far.
Below is my latest labour of love, a speech which has been submitted to Congresswoman Maxine Waters for the #Our Speech call to action. I hope that at least some of it is heard or better yet, acted upon.
To add to the this weekend’s historic moments, Cornel West was arrested today getting his voice heard in Washington DC. How fitting is that?
We are the 99%.
I do not profess to be a politician. The halls of congress and the White House are grounds that I never expect to walk upon, except as a tourist. Yet, within the halls of democracy lies the beating heart of the people who dared to conceive it and took the necessary steps to actualize it.
Democracy is the form of government which we believe exemplifies our dream of a just and equal society. We believe so deeply in its aspirations and veracity that we uphold it as the ideal to which other nations should aspire. The people are both the wheel upon which the system turns and the very steam which powers the engine of democracy and capitalism. Social injustice, racial disparities, institutional racism and economic inequality are systemic issues which mirror the failings of humanity. None of which are acceptable and all of which must be fought against.
The time has come to acknowledge that our ideology and aspirations are greatly out of step with reality. The current strife underscores this more than any speech ever could. Americans are sick of hearing Congress bicker about whom is to blame for our issues and what is the best way to solve them. I happen to be a Democrat but before any political affiliation, I am a human being and so I expect our politicians to put aside their differences and do the job we elected them to do.
While Congress pontificates and filibusters, Americans are starving, losing their homes, working multiple jobs, if they can find them, and puzzling over ways to balance our incredibly, shrinking budgets against the rising costs of tolls, gas, food and corporate thievery in the guise of bank fees and loan rates.
We wonder how we will pay our taxes and student loans, avoid answering our phones, leave our mail unopened, as we struggle against a rising tide of depression because the system, if it ever was for us, has failed at this critical juncture in history to safeguard us. That is unacceptable.
Americans have lost HOPE. Hope, is the sacred right of every human being and what many politicians seem to have forgotten is that they are elected to be our hope and serve the arm of the people in a world rife with uncertainty. It is a sacred trust which has been broken as Americans are falling under the wheels of Corpocracy and greed due to officials failing to keep up their end of the bargain.
I acknowledge, unlike many, that “the people” have helped to create the mess we are in by their apathy and silence. I applaud Congresswoman Waters for reaching out to Americans as change must be a joint effort, of the electorate and our government. We need to be reminded and we need to be held accountable.
The global Occupy Wall Street movement illustrates beautifully the consciousness of the people which has been missing from the political landscape. Our silence has finally and irrevocably been broken. Those of us who have been awakened are now willing soldiers in the fight. Our strength, our passion and our vision can, and should be, harnessed to power change. How can America hold out its hand to other nations but not have the wherewithal to do the same for her people?
My suggestions are listed below:
- Revise the tax code and raise the taxes for the rich and corporations and pass the American Job Act.
- Close the loopholes, legally or by constitutional ratification, which allowed corporations to skirt the system and create the mortgage crisis.
- Pass legislation to get the money out of congress. We need citizen funded elections to limit corporate influence.
- Enact a National Foreclosure Moratorium to stem the tide of homelessness and allow people to get their finances in order.
- Create an Oversight committee for mortgage fraud investigation and HAMP. The program is a farce because banks are not making modifications as agreed to and homeowners have NO resource to go to.
- Waive 401K tax withdrawal penalties for the unemployed and underemployed as discussed during the 2008 campaign. How can people get back on their feet if they are in debt to everyone incl. the IRS?
- Create additional incentives for banks to lend to small businesses and new entrepreneurs.
- Procure unused tracts of land to create a national program more urban community gardens or provide grants. Volunteer committees can plant and manage the grounds; sell proceeds (with a cap on profits) and be mandated to give a percentage of the yield to organizations which feed the homeless.
- Provide a liaison for the Occupy Wall Street movement to ensure that their objectives (TBD) can be communicated effectively without resorting to more violent measures which is a foreseeable outcome.
- Keep the channels of communication open between the electorate and government. Encourage volunteer committees of a select, and changing group of citizens, selected by lottery, who are responsible for communicating/brainstorming quality of life issues and provide feedback to their local governments.
- Determine what can be done to repeal the recently enacted Voter id laws which will have a direct impact on the 2012 election.