Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Needs To Occupy The Voting Booths As Well

Been keeping my eye on the Occupy Wall Street protests and the Occupy Houston protests that are occurring here.  While I have much love for the people participating in them and love the messages of fairness and social justice that are coming out of these protests that are spreading all around the world as I write this and striking fear in the hearts of the 1% and the GOP politicians that support them, I still have some reservations and concerns.

What I'm concerned about and why I haven't really gone all in with the Occupy Wall Street movement is because I'm not hearing enough language or ideas about what we do to channel this activism and anger of the 99 percenters at the jacked up status quo into reforming the political system to make it effectively work for the other 99% of the country.

For you folks who think the Occupy Wall Street protests are the bomb, these protests aren't going to mean jack if you don't follow them up with bumrushing the voting booths on Election Day next year and for the next ten to 20 years.

You can take your money out of the banks, make long eloquent speeches about corporate greed at the General Assemblies of the Occupy Wall Street  protest sites, sit in and get arrested, but unless you get your butts up on November 6, 2012  and every subsequent election day after that for the rest of your lives to throw the political bums out who aren't doing the job, the Republican politicians whose policies and conservafool philosophies enable the 1% to screw you, you don't run for public office yourself or support the candidates that would help create the political world you'd like to see, then this is just a colorful but colossal waste of time  

These direct action protests are a wonderful thing to witness and have been invaluable to jumpstarting a consciousness raising conversation about this Greed is Good culture we find ourselves in that isn't benefiting those of us not in the 1% end of the societal scale.  

But they need to be backed up with those same people that you got to turn out for these Occupy Wall Street protests to channel that enthusiasm and energy into consistently marching those same massive numbers of people to voting booths on Election Day and being permanently engaged and committed to the political action piece for the rest of their lives. 

Our enemies and the people they bamboozle into voting for them will damned sure be at the polling places in full effect, and we on the liberal-progressive side need to match their energy and exceed their turnout.   The 1% also likes it when they see voter turnout in the 40% or less range and hear people on the center left end of the political spectrum stupidly say they aren't going to vote.  Helps make it easier for them to keep the right wing politicians in office who screw you.  

But the more people who participate in the voting process, the more progressive candidates that get elected.  

Why do you think the Republicans have been engaged in voter suppression tactics against my community for decades and have been actively working to make it harder for low income people and students to vote?

You need all the tools in the civil rights toolbox to enact systemic change, and the most important one is the power of the ballot.

So as you plot your strategies in the various protest sites around the country and the world in the coming weeks and months, you may also wish to consider taking some voter registration cards with you as well or marching unregistered people to the county courthouse to get them registered to vote, and then follow up to ensure they do.

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