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What Occupy Wall Street means to me

I love ‘em…young people out there expressing the reality that there is something radically wrong with our system.

 

Months ago, a couple came into the market where I work and after some discussion said that $250,000 per year income was not that much. Later, in the New York Times, there was an article that said much the same thing. They were commenting on the fact that $250,000 shouldn’t be taxed at a higher rate. Not once was it mentioned that if $250,000 wasn’t that much, what about the citizen who is making a “decent” wage of $10 per hour. That’s $20,000 per year full time. Not only that, as they complain about their insufficient salary, they complain about those $10 per hour souls not paying enough taxes. I’m appalled. These are our fellow citizens. We know them. They are not lazy or afraid of work. They are us. We are us. How can you not understand that?  Nobody wants charity; we only accept it when we have no choice. We want to work and support our community. I think this is obvious with the response to “Irene.”

That “One percent” has used extortion on us at both the federal and state levels. On the federal level they threaten (and make good on the threat) to take jobs abroad unless we accept Third World wages. We have read in these pages the one percent threatening to move out of Vermont unless we lower their taxes. The richest among us have been waging class war against the USA and Vermont for too long now. I thank the young people for finally standing up for the rest of us. It’s time to put a stop to this system and progress to a system that values people above money and war.

So, first off, we have to agree that to maintain a healthy society, to even count ourselves worthy of that name, all of us progress together, not only as individuals. All of us have the right to food, housing, education and health care. Even ancient tribes did this. If we can’t do this, then we are not worthy of being called civilized. We are barbarians.

Secondly, we re-align our foreign policy to where going to war is a slow, well thought out decision, not just wiping out anyone who disagrees with us. We had the world with us after 9/11. We blew it. Now we have to make amends and start again. The youth around the world will work with us if we listen to the “Occupy” crowd. It’s time to start rebuilding.

 

Lehman lives in Warren.

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