I am writing today to occupy a space with my words. As I am incapable of occupying a physical space in the protests currently happening in New York City, I must utilize my resources to lend support to a cause. And what might this cause be, you ask? As I see it currently, it is a battle for fundamental freedoms.
Most commonly when we as Americans refer to fundamental freedoms we refer to the Bill of Rights, among others. As it happens, the freedom of which I am speaking tops the list.
The First Amendment reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."1In my educated opinion this amendment protects citizens' rights to worship as they please and speak as they will. I also find, through this amendment, a source of empowerment for the general public to hold their Government accountable. As such, I have a couple things to say about certain trends presently playing out in the U.S. Government.
When citizens descended upon Wall Street to address their concern that Big Business and the U.S. Government still haven't ended their decades-long, turbulent love affair, they were greeted with barricades and police tape. Thanks to New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and New York's Finest, NYPD, protesters were forced to take their message to nearby Liberty Plaza. I would argue that this is the first assault on freedom.
The point in protesting on Wall Street is to make an example of the injustice the protestors feel. When dealing with abstract thoughts like Freedom, it serves the outspoken best to connect the abstract thoughts to a physical symbol. In this regard, Wall Street is the symbol of political corruption and back room dealings that benefit, at best, 1% of the population leaving the remaining 99% a little worse for wear. Conversely, what if protestors at 1989 Tiananmen Square, China or 2011 Tahrir Square, Egypt had chosen a different location to express their grievance against oppression. Protestors chose these locations deliberately to strengthen the impact of their statements.
By prohibiting the Occupy Wall Street protestors from peacefully occupying Wall Street as the movement intended, New York City (specifically Michael Bloomberg) unethically denies access to the first amendment rights we as citizens enjoy. This compounds the issue for these protestors as they demand for an equitable, not profitable government. For this reason, I have taken up a small portion of my morning to practice, without fear of arrest, detention, or persecution, my first amendment rights.
What I have to share now, is that we are severely mistaken if we do not seek to maintain the same level of progress those before us fought for. Our forefathers fought for the freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Suffragettes fought for a legal voice to share in the direction of this country. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for freedom for our brothers and sisters to share in the direction of this country without fear of persecution based on the color of their skin. I fight for a fair and just society that does not believe value is exclusive to monetary terms. If we believe and become content with the idea that we have it made, then we easily accept demise. In complacency, we accept stagnancy.
Thomas Edison said it best, actually:
"We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present."So there it is folks; Life is a moving target, so start moving.
[Image provided by https://occupywallst.org/]
P.S. Here are some interesting articles to keep an eye on:
Super Congress Campaign Finance Transparency
National Clamor for Peace: Oct 6, 2011