occupy no depression…for what it’s worth
I found myself in New York last week and spent one day at the World Trade Center memorial site, and I’ll share that experience with you in a few days or so. I also took the time to check out the rumblings on Wall Street…not inside the stock exchange, banks and office buildings…but on the street. The protestors had set up camp and this was before the 700 people got busted on the Brooklyn Bridge or when that picture was snapped of the cop shooting pepper spray into the face of a young man. It was actually very loose the day I was there, almost a party atmosphere with a short afternoon protest march up Sixth Avenue at around three-thirty. There’s a lot of protests happening on any given day in the city, and I mistook this one for just one of those ragtag noise-making get togethers that would fizzle out during the next rain storm.
It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.
For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
If you’ve hung with me so far you may be asking…so what the hell does this have to do with music and why is it on the No Depression website?
For two years this site has grown into a community of people with similar interests and tastes in music. Kyla, with Kim’s help, have kept the doors open for anyone to blog with virtually no editorial cut or paste, and we have had many lively debates and discussions (that still go on and on and on) about many topics. And there is an actual community that has developed…many of us have made friends, shared personal stories, swapped music, shared articles, traveled and met in person. For myself, it’s the internet version of a small town’s square. And as such, its where I come to air out my thoughts and share ideas.
Usually it’s about the music, sometimes it ain’t.
As an older person soon to be sixty, I have now lived through enough life and times to allow me the benefit of seeing things contextually. News events come and go. Wars start, people die, troops come home…and then it starts all over again. We have hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fire that wipe out towns, and groups that come to aid and build them back up. There is an ebb of conservatism, followed by a flow of liberal thought. Things change, things stay the same. And sometimes, and not very often at that, movements begin. They start up small, die out, come back, go away and look…here they are again.
There’s a great chance I might be wrong, but I think we’re standing at the starting line of such a movement.
Today is the tenth anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan…all I can think about is the picture of Bush standing on the destroyer with the Mission Accomplished banner behind him (I know…that was about Iraq. Guess what? Still there, too). Ten years, countless bodies…fighting a rich man’s war. We went there to get Bin Laden when all we needed was a special ops unit and a president with the guts to make a tough decision.
I realize I’m starting to ramble. Sorry.
This isn’t a “sit down and write a well thought out essay” day for me…it’s a “I’m sick and tired of watching the best minds of my generation lose their homes, their jobs, their benefits, their families, their dignity” kind of day. My stomach growls every morning as I read the news…oh boy…the muscles in the back of my neck tighten as I turn on the television. Something is very, very wrong here in America and actually throughout the world, and the folks at Occupy Wall Street have tapped into it. They may not know what it is, and they may not know what needs to be done, but they know.
Something is happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.