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Thoughts on Voting

"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Editorial: Time to Rise Up




I remember it well.  The day was hot -- really hot.  I left my flat in San Francisco and headed out to join the protest march that was going to be held in Berkeley at People's Park.  Why?  You had to have been there.  The day before I had driven my VW bus to Berkeley to sit in coffee shops, listen to Bob Dylan and enter into some of the most amazing conversations one could imagine.

I walked down Telegraph Avenue and stopped at a shop that had a really nice shirt with American Indian flavor.  I went in, bought it, stepped outside wearing my nice new shirt and a blond girl ran past with terror in her eyes.  Right on her heels was an Alameda County Deputy Sheriff who whacked her on the forehead with a nightstick.  I ran out and knelt over her.  I can still see the shiny black boots out of the corner of my eye.  I looked up and said, "She's hurt, man...leave her alone."  Then everything went white.

That was yesterday and now here I was again, headed down Oak Street in my little blue VW bus with the blue and white curtains.  Before I could go more than two blocks, the bus was filled with peace sign flashing lovers of freedom with the same goal in mind.  To protest the outrageous actions of those in power against well meaning students.  UC students had the gall to take a puddle filled empty lot and turn it into a park with trees, swings and slides, pathways, benches and even sod that was laid down in a party atmosphere.

The problem was that UC owned the lot.  Governor Ronald Ray-Gun, ordered the National Guard to build a six-foot Cyclone fence around the park and to stand guard over it with fully loaded guns.  He said what should be his most famous quote but is lost in all the bullshit about him being a great leader.  

"If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with.  No appeasement"

This cowboy was not talking about the Viet Cong, he was talking about American students at a leading university.  He teargassed Berkeley, rounded up busloads of people and transported them to an abandoned detention center.  Bloodshed did follow at Kent State and at Jackson State.  Why do I bring this up?  Because now college students are beginning to rise up.  You guys have to understand that they will always threaten force and it can be frightening.  For instance, this is what we experienced that day:






The very existence of today's students is threatened by the loss of direction the current administration is experiencing.  If they cared they would have taken the bailout funds they gave to IGA and given them to colleges across the United States.  They don't care.  The only way to get their attention is to demonstrate over and over again.  Avoid violence at all costs.  It makes them look stupid.

I supported Obama very strongly and I can honestly say I am disappointed.  Afghanistan is a huge mistake.  We're still in Iraq.  His efforts to stem the foreclosure rate are a sad joke.  If he cared at all he could pass an Executive Order stating that all homeowners who owe more than the property is worth are now 50/50 partners with the bank at the current value on a fixed low-interest loan.

And healthcare?  He is either the worst negotiator in history or he had no intention of passing true healthcare reform in this country.  The ideal for America is a Single Payer plan.  It is the least expensive and covers everyone.  He disregarded this out of hand.  Why?  He should have pushed for it strongly, then if he had to bend over for the Republicans, he could have backed into the public option.  He gave away the CHANGE we all believed in.  Why?  Did he sell out to the healthcare industry?  Is he so deeply bought and sold that his hands are tied.  Either way, it sucks.  This is not the change I fought so hard to get.

I encourage the young people of America to organize like you have never organized before, because most of you haven't.  You have a great advantage -- technology.  We formed "telephone trees" to keep one another informed.  You have technology that's way beyond.  USE IT...and Never give up.  Good luck.


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1 comment:

  1. Excellent. From Someone who graduated high school in 1968 and remembers

    ReplyDelete

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