Occupy Your Life

With the movement around our nation and the world right now to occupy one space or another, again I am reminded that our similarities outweigh our differences.  Yet there are still those who would rather reap discord and create anger instead of looking at the big picture, being the trolls that they are.  You may not identify directly with those individuals exercising their First Amendment rights on Wall Street, or anywhere else for that matter.  The chances are, however, that any issue they have that they are willing to speak out about in a peaceful manner, should be considered before dismissing it as garbage, if not for the reason that in their message, they speak out in favor of things we were likely supporting anyway.

I find it interesting that people on the extremes are even speaking up at all, because it is their fault that we are in the mess we are in.  This isn't just the Extreme Right we are talking about or the Extreme Left.  It is their unwillingness to work together, their total devotion to party above people, their fanaticism and their zealotry that have brought these times upon us.  If you choose to argue this, go ahead, but the reality is that those in our government on both sides who have failed us, and those extremes that have driven our agendas on both sides, are more about themselves and less about the rest of us.

The only people profiting from our current situation are those who have the means to manipulate the system.  The corporations and banks that took bailout money yet failed to tighten their belts continue to make profits and to take advantage of loopholes not available to the rest of us.  Small businesses have shut their doors all over this country because of the poor stewardship and greed of others, but help never came for them.  In fact, I know businesspeople who are still suffering from the mismanagement of our financial sector and the piss-poor government oversight, but I don't see any screaming from the mountaintops by our elected officials, except to point the finger at their colleagues.  Let's be blunt: By continuing to do business the way you all continue to do business, you are driving our Nation to the edge.

I am by no means aligned with any side.  I hold equal contempt for both extremes.  I would be in favor of privatizing government if the privateers could be trusted not to squander my money, give me crappy service, and feed the bloated CEOs who already have more of everything than they could ever hope to use.  But that being said, I think our government has done an equally crappy job and can't be trusted either.  If anything, it really does call for a return to more local government and less centralized government.  While you lose some in the economy of scale, there is a lot more ability to maintain accountability and insist on transparency.  If the populace of a locality choose to be more innovative, so be it.  If they choose to be conservative, so be it.  But in this fashion, like minded individuals would actually have a place to group together, in communities with those who think like them, or in more diverse communities if they so choose.

It's time we all pushed back against the current way we are solving our problems.  The "leaders" in our nation are concerned only about being re-elected.  While the argument can be made that if they don't get re-elected, they can't invoke change, the flip side is that if you are focusing more on getting re-elected than on governing, what reason do we have to keep you there anyway?  

The lobbyists who make a fortune pushing their interests in government could stay, but their ability to buy a vote through any means should be taken away and their ability to push their agendas through the use of logical reasoning, creation of workable plans, and solving the dilemmas caused by their agendas should be valued instead.

And these big corporations who are getting more in government subsistence than any "welfare sponge" (to use the words of one individual) could be forced to compete on the same playing field as the small businesses.  Less loopholes and more equality for the businesses around our country WOULD put more people back to work.  But when we effectively reward corporations for having a better legal and accounting team than the small businesses, we take away the ability for these small businesses to even stand a chance.

The chances are that you actually agree with a lot of what these "Occupiers" are saying, whether you are a conservative or a liberal.  They are angry that there are people exploiting us for their own gain, both in business and in government, with no chance for the rest of us to make a living on our own merits.  My wife and I pay our mortgage.  We invest in our future.  We run a business and don't lavish gifts on ourselves. We don't exceed our means.  But while we pay our taxes and work hard, I personally don't see any reward in the fact that we do so, yet executives and bankers and politicians can afford second and third homes, yet have failed our country.

You don't have to go sit on a street corner to support change.  But you can take an opportunity to learn about the issues and say something to your elected officials.  And if they don't want to listen, it is your responsibility to replace them with someone who will. We need leaders who will look past the ideology and look toward what solutions are available for improving ALL of our lives, not just the chosen few.

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