By Richard Thomas
Justice or Just-Us? I attended my first Occupy Rockford rally this last Saturday at the grand opening of Rockford’s new $100 million federal courthouse. It was by invitation only. The authorities could have easily included We the People by setting inclusive rules conforming to peaceable assembly. It was only after the grand opening and outside of the courthouse that the masses were thrown a few crumbs of pacifying, placating inclusion. After reviewing the TV news of what actually went on inside the event, the included “dignitaries” like U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin and Judge Stanley J. Roszkowski go on and on about how the massive building has been long needed for justice.
Well, Occupy Rockford is all about real justice. From what I saw, they support getting quid pro quo money out of politics, resurrecting Glasse-Steagall, and prosecuting those who ruined our economy — not balancing the budget on the backs of police officers, soldiers, teachers, nurses, emergency workers, and all those who are already chronically underpaid for their service. I saw support for enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Buy American Act. I also saw support for an updated version of the WPA, which would address our critical infrastructure needs with real jobs (which businesses use to transport their goods). Still others support the reform or elimination of NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA and all other unfair trade agreements, which have China, the world’s champion of human rights violations, owning a big part of our debt. These agreements also erode our national sovereignty and leave us ripe for the plucking. A nation that produces nothing is at the mercy of all other nations, especially during war. Others support ending tax havens, ending the Bush/Obama tax holiday and ending corporate welfare. Others were concerned that today’s college grads are shackled like never before with mega-debt, which causes delayed progress and mobility. Yes, from what I saw, Occupy Rockford is an American mosaic of grassroots activism.
We don’t have a spending problem as much as we have a revenue problem. The Big 5 oil companies just announced that so far this year, they have taken in (note, I did not say earn) more than $100 billion in profit and yet still need government aid. Contrary to empty rhetoric, we can “spend” our way out of recession if the investment is wisely targeted toward infrastructure and a real 21st-century education for all. American families and businesses have always gone into debt, if need be, if the end goal is growth and progress.
Occupy Rockford is pro-actively nonviolent, and I applaud the Rockford police officers who understand that this country was founded on dissent. One friendly, but frank, officer at the rally told me, “I’d rather be home.” With all due respect to all the officers, I’d like to say as a citizen and a veteran, “We’d ALL like to be home.” Especially those suffering from record high foreclosures stemming from being bamboozled into Wall Street’s toxic mortgage scam. But for the foreseeable future, reality demands now more than ever that We the People take back our government from the forces that have nothing to do with democracy or justice. Will Rockford’s new federal courthouse be a beacon for justice, or will it be just a vastly vacant palace for parasites amidst a sea of unemployment? We shall see.
Richard Thomas is a nurse and board member of www.IllinoisFathers.org. He lives in Dwight, Ill.
From the Nov. 9-15, 2011, issue