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10.26.11

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Why We Occupy

A collective hope for true democracy

By Alison Malisa


As Americans take to the streets, the steps of courthouses and financial institutions across the country, we stand united in our concern for the future of our nation. Our determination and growing numbers are testimony to a collective hope for change. On the streets, the homeless, the jobless and the first of the fearless join forces to represent 99 percent of Americans. We are diverse, but we share the same basic needs—needs that are not being met.

And so we are volunteering our time at fire departments, food banks and free health clinics. We are starting nonprofits to provide the services that are lacking in our communities. We are educating ourselves in schools with decreasing quality and rising costs. We are unemployed or underemployed with an escalating cost of living. We are overworked in our public service, without financial resources to implement effective programs for children, the environment, public health and criminal rehabilitation. We are families working at least two full-time jobs, without vacation, afraid of losing our homes. We are paying for health insurance, but unable to afford office visits and medication.

We are busy everyday trying to hold our lives together. We do not have time or energy to be camping out on curbsides protesting the obscene inequality between corporate income and our own, and protesting tax evasion by the wealthy. We are too exhausted to take to the streets demanding basic services and ethical regulation of all business and government actions. But here we are, and let it be known: our political presence is growing in spite of our other obligations.

We want our elected politicians to represent us, not their corporate sponsors. The president could begin by verbally committing to the separation of corporation and state, using executive authority to disallow corporations from contributing unlimited and anonymous funds to political campaigns. He can close tax loopholes, end our war on terrorism and ensure affordable healthcare and education for all Americans. If he does this, he will balance the budget, reconnect to the American people and just may get reelected in 2012.

Alison Malisa is an uninsured mother, part-time teacher and unemployed global health and community food professional living in Sebastopol.


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