Friday, October 14, 2011

What Democracy Looks Like

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl, as you know, is not afraid to take a political stance on this blog.

She's not afraid of ruffling feathers. And she's not afraid of asking you all to take a stand.

Your MatchGirl was unemployed for a year and a half. At the height of the recession. And during that time, she worked her butt off. Did she take jobs that paid $8 an hour? No. I was lucky that I was able to collect back on my unemployment insurance and get some benefits. And I knew that if I fell into a job making $8 an hour, there would be no time to look for a job to put me in the right direction. But the reason I was unemployed at all was because the banks fucked up. And the small business I worked at couldn't keep going. I was a casualty. And I rose from the ashes of that company - to push myself into a better place. To help you all get to a better place.

But the world, the one we walk in and out of every day, is not becoming a better place. Not for ordinary people.

I hope that you will all take the time, just 10 minutes, to watch this video, embedded below, by my friend Mike Gill.

When your MatchGirl first saw it, tears came to my eyes. To see the veterans, older men, who served a country they loved and who have watched it fall apart, lock arms, and insist on being the first line of defense against the oncoming police... It's powerful stuff.

"What Democracy Looks Like: The View From Occupy Boston"
from Michael Gill on Vimeo.

Your MatchGirl is a liberal person. You all know that.
I think it's fine for you to have different views than I do. I think as long as you're informed, dear readers, on the full picture, with all the facts, and not just collecting soundbites and parroting them to your friends or to those who disagree with you, that we can agree to sit on our opposite sides.
Your MatchGirl is against war. I have friends who are veterans and not only do I respect them, I am in awe of them. I could not do what they have done. I couldn't carry that passion. I also have family members who are veterans - my dad, of Vietnam, and my Grampa, of WWII - and who are still in the military - my cousin Angus joined the Marines in 1992 and still serves, including as a medic in Afghanistan.

I know people who work on Wall Street.

I know the 1% and I am amongst the 99%.

Your MatchGirl is not occupying Wall Street.
But I have friends at both Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston. And I'm proud of them.
They are not "lazy hipsters" nor are they "trust fund kids". They are people in their late 30s and 40s, who have worked hard, who have chased their dreams, who are finding their voice. And who are asking for a better life - for themselves and for those who will come after us.

In "An Open Letter to that 53% Guy," Max Urdago writes:
We can have a reasonable standard for what level of work qualifies you for the American Dream, and work to build a society that realizes that dream, or we can chew each other to the bone in a nightmare of merciless competition and mutual contempt.
I suggest you all check out his letter.

Because whether you want to Occupy (Wherever) or you think it's all a crock of shit, Max makes some great points.

It's all about fixing the country. And fighting to keep it a great place to live and work and raise a family.

It's all about the American Dream being about more than working 70 hours a week for just over minimum wage and not even being able to get your teeth fixed or have a regular doctor's visit.

If we really want America to be great again, we need to remember what made it great in the first place.

Revolution. Equality. And Democracy.


  1. I'm not sure how many comments you get on your blog posts, but whatever it is, it's not enough. Many would do well to be reminded of the First Amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    This was important enough that the framers of the constitution felt it necessary to modify the initial document, that laid out the basis for this country, to remedy the ommission -- the guarantee of civil liberties.

    I lived for a few years in a town called Eastchester, in Westchester County, NY. There, in 1733, the editor of New-York Weekly Journal, a man by the name of John Peter Zenger printed an account of a local election and was arrested for libel. He was later acquitted in what is now the legal precedent for "freedom of the press" and later incorporated in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    Americans have become complacent, and rights, not execised, atrophy. We've outsourced our voice to the media, our politicians and civic leaders. But it is our *individual liberties* that are protected, and out individual voices that have the most strength.

    Keep writing posts. Keep gathering in peaceful protest. Express yourself. A consensus of the loudest voices is not "the will of the people." Be heard.

    -Alan Berkson

  2. Thanks for posting this. Makes me think it's not going to just "peter out" or fade away.

  3. Alan - Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It's nearly a post in itself. And thanks, also, for your continued support.

    Noel- I'm glad the post gives you hope. Keep sharing - the video, for sure - and my post, if you like. It's a good way to keep people thinking about tomorrow.