I Am the Spokesperson for #OWS: These Are Our Demands

Philadelphia Police Captain (Ret) Ray Lewis

Philadelphia Police Captain (Ret) Ray Lewis

The general assemblies of New York, Oakland, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas and 350 communities across the United States have appointed me spokesperson for the Occupy Wall St. movement. I am hereby empowered to submit the following demands:

  1. We demand free and fair elections based upon open discussion and debate and support of the majority. To this end we demand that all elections be publicly financed, that candidates qualify for public financing by collecting signatures supporting their campaign, and that television stations be required to devote a percentage of prime-time viewing to candidates for the purposes of promoting their positions. Elections will be run by instant run-off, permitting multiple candidates to express divergent views on economic and social policies.
  2. In order to ensure public discourse is not co-opted by the corporate press, we demand that media companies be owned and managed by their staff – that no outside financial interest be permitted to own or influence the content of the news so that journalists can perform their democratic duty of informing citizens on the events of the day.  Citizens will receive a tax reduction of up to $200 to permit them to support media outlets with editorial views they support.
  3. We demand citizen boards be empowered to decide on the regulation of large corporations. These citizen boards, acting like juries, will hear testimony of the industry experts along with testimony of those affected by the enterprises’ activities. These boards will make democratic decisions concerning what regulations are needed and how they are to be enforced, in order to prevent the types of abuses we see in the finance, energy, defense and pharmaceutical industries.<<
  4. We demand the immediate expropriation of the health insurance industry, which holds American working people hostage to a system that systematically deprives a significant portion of the population access to vital health care services when they need them.
  5. We demand the immediate review of our constitutional rights and the emergency powers adopted under the Patriot Act and enforced by the Department of Homeland Security in order to protect the civil rights of all.
  6. We demand the immediate institution of publicly funded zero-interest student loans and the gradual implementation of a publicly funded pre- and post-secondary education system in order to provide equal opportunity to education across lines of race, gender and class and to end the systematic debt peonage of young people.
  7. We demand the restoration of the social safety net including eldercare, childcare, and parental leave so that we fully support the elderly, the young, the infirm and their caretakers and so that those suffering from mental illness and the men and women reeling from the post-traumatic effects of war need not live on the streets of our country to our collective shame.
  8. We demand an end to imperialist wars that inflict untold damage on working people at home and abroad, that reinforce a cycle of violence that ends up making all of us less safe and that severs the bonds of international cooperation on which our survival as a species now depends.
  9. We demand that private corporations producing goods and services be required to create an employee ownership plan that contributes a percentage of corporate profits into a fund to purchase shares in the corporations to be held by workers. Over a 10- to 12-year period this fund would become a majority stake in the company at which point elected representatives of the workforce will replace the managers and board of directors and any existing outside ownership of the enterprise will be purchased at fair market value by the workers.
  10. We demand an immediate public investigation of the financial industry, with the purpose of punishing those responsible for willfully profiting by committing fraud on American homeowners and disabling small businesses by denying credit. We demand that these financial industries be immediately broken up and replaced by institutions that are publicly owned, worker-managed and devoted to providing access to credit to home-owners and businesses, not to the maximization of profit for shareholders.
  11. In short, we demand an economy and political system that works for the 99%, that respects and incorporates the values of direct and representative democracy – the idea that people have a right to a say in decisions that directly affect them and the right to a government of, by and for the people.

So there they are, the demands of the Occupy Wall St. movement. How do we best proceed?  Do we hand them over to the radical right, the Limbaughs and the Becks and the Koch Brother lackeys, who are drooling for the chance to ridicule and demean them. Drooling because they know they control the bully pulpit of the commercial media, that any sensible set of demands, demands that really get at the dark heart of the shameful domination of ordinary American’s by the corporate elite, indeed any demands Occupy Wall St. makes, can be painted pink, jeered at, confounded and distorted.

Isn’t that the function of the right-wing media — to take off the table any set of ideas that actually represent the will of the people, to keep the debate well to the right of what working American’s believe and value; to keep the moneyed interests of their wealthy funders safe from scrutiny; and to keep reasoned, well-intentioned, and compassionate voices from informing our public policy?

Please don’t imagine that the so-called ‘liberal media’ — the New York Times and NPR — are the answer. The truth is that our commercial media system is a pale reflection of what a democracy requires of the press. On the issues that count, issues central to our working and civic lives, these media outlets fail ordinary working Americans, again and again, by giving a pass to the corporate interests who have disemboweled our democracy, made off with our collective wealth, and left the middle class and working class in tatters.

Part of our work is to re-imagine our media system, to take it out of the hands of the 1%, and to begin to build a real, lasting and inclusive democracy that extends beyond the ballot box into the places where we sweat and toil to provide for ourselves and for our families. Until we do that, no set of demands can be honestly considered.

But no, these are not the official demands of Occupy Wall St. and I am not its official spokesperson. But these are real proposals, embodying the values of our democratic tradition, which have been imagined, fought for, and, in many cases, implemented in an ongoing attempt to reign in the reckless gluttony of high finance and the corporate elite.

  • Demand #1, for free and fair elections, has been partially implemented in Maine where it is now possible for an elected representative to actually legislate on behalf of those who elected her, rather than on behalf of her corporate supporters.
  • Demand #2 is based on the struggle that occurred in the 1930s and that eventually resulted in the institution of public media, here and abroad, and upon ideas now being considered by the current effort to democratize the media.
  • Demand #3 is based on developments in regulatory reform in Belgium intended to ensure that industry insiders do not capture regulatory boards, a solution which is sorely needed here in the U.S. in this era of regulatory capture.
  • Demand #4 is widely practiced in the area of health insurance in all other industrialized economies whose citizens widely support the view that private interests should not be permitted to profit by denying health care to those who need it.
  • Demand #5 is based upon broad-based support for reviewing the powers granted to the government by the Patriot Act and for protecting the civil liberties enshrined in our constitution and bill of rights.
  • Demand #6 has been widely practiced in most industrial countries in the post-war WWII era in order to provide equal access to education as a condition for meaningful participation in a representative democracy; in order to provide a basis for equal opportunity for positions of authority in the economy and in politics, and in order to prevent those most vulnerable in our society from experiencing poverty and destitution.
  • Demand #7 is prevalent in many industrialized countries and reflects the belief that those most vulnerable should not be pushed to the margins of our society and that the work of caring for others, be they young, old, infirm or otherwise dependent ought to be recognized and valued. It reflects the belief that our veterans, young and working class, do not receive the treatment and care they deserve when they are ruined by war.
  • Demand #8 inspired ten million to take to the streets across the globe to protest the “shock and awe” bombing of innocent civilians in Iraq. Ending these wasteful and immoral wars is a necessary precondition for building international solidarity to respond effectively and immediately to the threat of global warming.
  • Demand #9 is based on the Meidner plan, that came close to being implemented in Sweden in the 1970’s until it was derailed by corporate interests. It is based on the belief that democratic participation ought to be extended to decisions affecting the work lives of individuals; that the corporate capitalist system disenfranchises workers who have a right to participate in decisions concerning the value they create.
  • Demand #10 is a response to the continued arrogance and hubris of an industry that has not demonstrated the ability to contribute to economic wellbeing, has arguably done more harm to the fortunes of American working families than any foreign threat, and that does not deserve the immunity from crime that has be granted it by the Obama Administration, this Congress or the Securities and Exchange Commission who’s mission is to uphold and enforce the law as it pertains to Wall St brokers, the banks and hedge funds who have made off with our national wealth.
  • Demand #11 is a summary statement of the purpose of Occupy Wall St. – to open a space, literal and figurative for the discussion of the ideas that the media have pushed to the margins, and that the corporate elites in this country, those who own and control the means by which we obtain our livelihoods, are afraid to acknowledge because they are afraid to openly debate and discuss the moral legitimacy of plutocracy.

What happens when the elites in a country are afraid to permit discussion of the underlying justification of the economy and political institutions?

That’s easy; the citizens take to the streets, rise up and demand to be included. After all, when you are excluded from participating in meaningful public debate, excluding from decisions about how corporations are owned, operated, regulated and held accountable, excluded from discussions of whether and how real reforms might be undertaken; when you have no hope of intervening in a political system in which free speech has all been bought and paid for, what do you do?

David-Kristjanson-GuralYou occupy.

That’s what’s happening now, and that’s why the corporate media keeps asking who is the spokesperson and what are the demands.

They don’t actually want to hear the demands; they just want us all to go away.

Let’s disappoint them, shall we?

 David Kristjanson-Gural
Spilling Ink — Voice for Radical Democracy 

Published by the LA Progressive on November 26, 2011
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About David Kristjanson-Gural

David Kristjanson-Gural is Associate Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow of the Social Justice College at Bucknell University. He writes regularly for the Spilling Ink Writers’ Collective (http://spillingink.net).

Comments

  1. Unite, THEN occupy!!! says:

    This entire “movement” is less stable than uranium in the hands of grade school children. The “demands” are not only vague and poorly structured, they have absolutly no backbone, no reasonable means to carry out.
    I do NOT agree with the tea party movement in any way shape or form, but they did have something you do not, assembly, as Yosemite Sam aka George Bush Jr. once said “The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing”, and that is not what is happening here, and if that dimwit realized that power comes only when common goals are set.
    I feel that OWS should have great success in accomplishing something great for this country, so please, elect a spokesperson, obey the laws, don’t leave occupy sites filthy, listen to the authorities!!! If and when this movement succeeds, then you can the shots.
    For now we are still under the rule of a system indoctrinated by a group of white haired, alcoholic, narrow minded pillagers, whom between black outs would scribble down a couple of things that sounded “good at the time” Unfortunatly, we have had to deal with these ramblings for over two hundred years.
    I wish you all the luck in changing these arcane rules and implementing a fair and more importantly up to date system of checks and balances, Thank you for your time, let the flame war begin…

  2. Michael Feaster says:

    I read through all your “demands.” You seem to be describing communism… There can’t be fairness without a radical agenda?
    This is why the Occupy movement will fail.

  3. This is a third try. Hope I make it this time.

    I am a small person watching the “show” I can’t get behine “occupy” because I don’t know what it is really about. There are people in my small town wearing “occupy” shirts. I ask what is the protest or what do they want. They can’t tell me. They just want to “hang with the gang”.

    I have one recommendation that will probably go unnoticed but here goes.

    Our government is screwed up by lobbists.

    News says Occupy is heading to Washington next.

    Lets outlaw lobbys. Stand in front of their offices!!!!!!!

  4. Greetings David, great articles. There might be a way to get all the demands that you list, but most likely we’ll need to do this first; copy the corporate strategy.

    The 1% did not risk life and limb to acquire control of Congress, why should OWS? The 1% used financial incentivization and dependence to achieve control of Congress with 1) campaign funds 2) highly coveted corporate perks 3) corporate stock portfolios 4) corporate employment/lobbying after office

    The 99% can employ the very same, overwhelmingly successful corporate strategy of financially incentivizing Congress – to enact campaign finance reform. Were Congress to agree to enact campaign finance reform and illegalize the four categories listed above, in exchange we could offer to add a zero to Congressional pay and pensions for a relatively paltry $1.5 billion per year. There’s only 535 of them. This is an offer that Congress might seriously consider. Wouldn’t you? If agreed to and when combined with the vote, this would provide the 99% omnipotent control over Congress, providing OWS the change that would address their grievances – peacefully.

    If successful, this compromise agreement represents a win/win/win (politicians/99%/cities) – with Wall Street and corporations the odd men out. Nice! We’ll save trillions, the middle class, the poor, our environment and democracy – for relative pennies.

    Preliminary polls show 97% public support for this concept, see http://politicalfinancereform.org/component/acepolls/poll/1-remove-private-money.html

    A DailyKos poll (at bottom of article) shows 98% support, see http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/12/20/930513/–A-Strategy-to-Reduce-Corporate-Special-Interest-Influence-from-Politics.

    Conservative polls show 70+% support, see http://politicalfinancereform.org/poll-results/combined-stat.html, all of which combine to precisely mirror the Pew Research Center’s national poll results where “80% of Americans believe Congress is too influenced by special interest money.” When fully understood, the vast majority appear willing to make a relatively small investment to gain the loyalty of our politicians and win our country back from corporate special interest groups.

    Remember, the forces that will resist every demand you’ve made are the very same forces that have no problem with 45,000 Americans dying each year due to no health insurance. They already commit murder to make money. Should we expect OWS to potentially endure such harm?
    Before anymore get hurt, before anymore sacrifice, and certainly before the OWS movement loses any momentum whatsoever for their just cause, perhaps OWS should consider mobilizing resources to approach Congress in force with the strategy found in “Political Finance Reform” and save the protesters from harm and continued sacrifice; our police from the predicament that they are in (and their pensions); our cities from the revenue and liability problem; the middle class; the poor who are suffering so greatly and win the future for our kids.

    Political Finance Reform . org seeks to collaborate with OWS to get this done.

    In Solidarity, JP Sayles

  5. I like the work that you are doing, and so does my 67 year old mother and 76 year old father. Good job, and keep it up. We’d donate if we could.

  6. These demands are imperfect but within reason could all be substantially met – and we’d then be a lot better off. BUT they needlessly disregard the BIG underlying problem – the problem of political power and how it is more reasonably and constructively to be used.

    Demand #1 FAILS to challenge the existing Roman-republican style of oligarchic structure for public decision-making. It presumes continuing the existence of a <1% oligarchy of long-term empowered government officers – only they are supposed to be more ‘fairly’ elected and therefore supposedly will be ‘better’ people. But the result for each office will be the same old story: the office will still have a single take-all-power winner for a long term, to wield de-facto incontestable power for a long time over very many public decisions. This concentration of power will continue to invite corruption – per Acton's correct warning – a warning justifiably famous, yet so far always fatally disregarded by would-be reformers: ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

    Why not instead go for real Athenian-style democracy? In particular, apply Demand #3 – citizen juries – to political decision (for laws and policies), not just corporate decision!

    After all: IT'S THE POLITICAL <1% OLIGARCHY THAT LEGALLY ENABLES AND EMPOWERS THE ECONOMIC <1% OLIGARCHY.

    Athenian democracy is wrongly remembered for its flagrant weaknesses: the raucous whimsical grand assembly that went with each new day's demagog, and a very restricted notion of citizenship. Athenian democracy is forgotten for its real strength – decisions by DELIBERATIVE CITIZEN JURIES.

    By using many short-term citizen juries, we can:
    (1) Decentralize decisions and thereby protect ourselves from the corruption of concentrated power
    (2) Involve all desiring-to-participate citizens in manageable but meaningfully empowered participation in public service (NOT as scheming or out-of-touch career politicians, and NOT as impossibly saintly career activists)
    (3) Enable each decision to be carefully deliberated
    (4) In accord with this scientific age ensure that decisions are justified not by mere majority-whim votes but by overwhelming consensus backed up by stated and publicly challengeable rationales; and
    (5) Make public decisions far more reasonable and careful, by having them taken in three independent stages, each given to different juries: (a) creation of proactive problem-solving proposals, (b) decisions on proposals, and (c) precautionary reviews (with affirmation or veto) of decisions taken.

  7. Jay Levenberg, Esq. says:

    Well, I suggest they all get on a plane and go to Venezuela where their demands would be in keeping with the power structure there. Here in the US, we value freedom and you certainly can’t be free with those sets of demands.

    • Actually, Jay, as I understand it, there are two definitions of freedom. Libertarians value “freedom from” interference by others, particularly the government. Progressives advocate for “freedom to” which embraces the notion that we have responsibilities to our fellow citizens to ensure that our institutions are structured in such a way as to give everyone equal opportunity to achieve what they value. I think, when government is needed, it should be structured in a way that is responsive to the needs of the individuals it is serving, and it should be accountable to the citizens. The “freedom from” interference approach merely allows existing inequalities to persist and plays into the hands of the corporate elites who have been financing the public relations campaign to shrink the government so they can avoid scrutiny as they make off with our national wealth.

  8. The absence of a call for the “radical” deconstruction of the existing criminal “injustice” system bespeaks a real lack of understanding about what the reality on the ground is for poor people of color. We have one of the largest human rights tragedy in the world, mass incarceration, going on and this “so-called” list of demands has not one word for it. Racism in America is live and well. The protestors at #OWS should reject the authors of this list. If America, who represents 5% of the world’s population, having 25% of the world’s prisoners (the largest such population in human history) is not an issue, 2.4 million human beings in cages, something is clearly wrong with our criteria for adding issues to #OWS list of demands.

  9. You were doing so well, until you added #6 and #7 – both are things which Duh Gutterment has no Constitutional Authority to meddle in – they’re nothing more than Entitlements for the “I gots mine” crowd.
    If you really want to make things right – eliminate 6 and 7 from the list – they empower the very institutions which have driven this country to nearly Third World status.

    Nice try, Chuckles.

  10. martin jones says:

    At the forefront of our thinking should be what will the voting majority make of this list of demands?

    We, like it or,not, the process is the voting booth. The best we can hope for is an informed voter. At the present what would the voting majority make of these demands. How many voters do we want to alienate?

  11. If this statement is authorized..,., it is interesting to note the # 1….. Free and fair elections. Those of us heading the election reform community continue to fight against Microsoft and other intellectual property advocates currently controlling the vote counts. We demand the removal of corporate controlled software .. and we demand the implementation of open source / mandatory paper ballot systems.. These systems have been developed and demonstrated by Open Voting Consortium.

  12. “Jeremy says:
    November 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm ”

    +100

  13. As one of the members of the Occupy Chicago Press Committee, I can absolutely assure that this man is in no way a spokesperson for us. Whether or not these ideas or strategies are good is besides the point, the Occupy movement has in no way endorsed this man as a spokesperson and he is misrepresenting himself.

    We will be contacting Press teams from other occupations in order to make sure that they are aware of this.

    • And while I recognize that embedded somewhere in the middle of this post, he recognizes that he not actually the spokesperson, and that these are not actually the demands, the majority of this article is terribly misleading. Yes, let’s encourage debate, let’s encourage individuals to come up with solutions to the severe problems we are facing in this country, and propose solutions to fix the social and economic injustices perpetuated by our political system, but be clear about the fact that you represent only your own views, not that of the greater movement.

      • I thought the author was pretty clear. It is not his fault and he is not being dishonest or engaging in deception just because readers may be too lazy too read the entire piece and comprehend his point.

      • Hi Evelyn. I tried to say very clearly that I am not the spokesperson when I wrote: “But no, these are not the official demands of Occupy Wall St. and I am not its official spokesperson.” The initial claim is meant ironically, to note the absurdity of the expectation of the mainstream press that these democratically organized and diverse occupations would have a single spokesperson with a single set of demands. I’m sorry if you misunderstood my intent, I have no wish to claim to represent the movement.

        • David,

          I saw this post in a coordination group and at first the title was a little triggery– I scrolled through to find the comment in the middle that indicates that it is meant to be ironic, and I really appreciate the last several lines at the very end. I think you illustrate very well by the end why it is that people are “demanding demands,” and why it’s a bad idea to conform.

          But, I would really sympathize with other Occupiers who are also likely to get a bit triggery over the title, and are very likely to miss the note of irony that was intended. I don’t have any suggestions here though.

        • David, while while I can see the point in not stressing specific demands, I think what annoys many supporters of the Occupy movement is a lack of solutions. OK, we get it. The system is bad for us, “the 99%.” But the Occupy movement seems stuck on just repeating that chant over and over. The Question is: what is to be done? Not in grand philosophic terms, but in actual feet on the ground terms with all of that gathered energy of Occupiers across the nation who are right now just camping out, holding signs and mic checking.

          This is a link to a story titled “Movers And Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Bank’s Order To Evict 103-Year-Old Atlanta Woman:”

          http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/30/378565/moves-and-deputies-refuse-eviction/

          I’d like it if a lot of the Occupy energy spent in the streets was focused on individual cases like this which represent many others like it. To bring public attention and pressure to legislators with clear concise attainable goals. As long as the goals are huge faceless and seemingly abstract ideas, the energy of the many is easily dissipated and loses the sympathy of the general public.

          But if the movement divided into segments which would tackle and highlight the real damage that most Americans have experienced or are going through, I believe it would be more effective. Specific legislation can come out of targeting individual problems and garnering public empathy and popular support.

          Fighting to end these kind of evictions in Atlanta would be way more useful than camping with signs downtown on Peachtree Street.

          The link below is to a good example of what the Occupy movement could be doing:

          “Occupy Wall Street Protesters Occupy Harlem Boiler Room, Get Tenants Heat And Hot Water”

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/occupy-wall-street-protes_n_1080250.html

  14. “The general assemblies of New York, Oakland, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas and 350 communities across the United States have appointed me spokesperson for the Occupy Wall St. movement.”

    No, they didn’t. Who is this guy?

  15. Jeremy, you don’t have to agree with all of the points in David’s post, you’ve already started discussing them. That is known as beginning the process of solving problems, there may be multitudes of people like David who have ideas to solve some of these problems, at a minimum they need to be debated and discussed. None of these possible solutions is even being discussed in the corporate media, so the discussion begins in independent and public media. Until these alternatives to austerity, budget cuts, tax raises, tax reforms, etc. are put out there to discuss America is going to keep going in cycles where 400 families (today, in 1933 it was 60) are going to keep exploiting you and every other human on the planet in order for them to maintain control and live in obscene luxury. For some reason you seem to believe that competition is more efficient than cooperation, you seem to believe that human created systems of government and economy cannot be improved upon, you seem to believe that government is somehow different than any other institution which it isn’t, it is composed of human beings with all of the flaws of humans, and as with any other institution that affects the lives of people it needs to be watched, corrected and at times punished.

    With 7 billion people on the planet, unrestricted exploitation of the planet, its resources and people is unsustainable. We either find a way to cooperate to preserve the species or we go extinct, its not any more difficult than that.

    I would like to offer one additional suggestion to David’s post, since there is the problem of what to do with the folks in the power elite once the power of life or death over humanity is taken away from them. I kind of like the solution a lot of European countries came up with to strip royalty of power. give them a title, a couple of estates and a generous allowance and let them play with their fellow useless creatures. We can amend the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress to bestow titles on themselves before they all retire. With the bankers and other corporate criminals, make them knights, give them one estate, a couple of retainers and a modest income on the condition they stay out of government and finance. Since it appears that a lot of the economic catastrophes befalling the world are a result of rich white powerful men seeking status, let them achieve that status with their titles, rather than pissing contests that result in massive death, destruction and misery. They want to be a leisure class, lets allow them to do that, its cheaper and a lot less harmful to people and other living things than letting them play with government and business,

    • Unifying a movement is the most difficult part of the social activism and dissent that moves us towards a better society. Thanks for being so honest Mr. Wilder. Unify or die!!!!!!

    • Well, that would be a whole lot or royalty. If we’re talking about the “1%” in the US, that would be about 3 million people. If we’re talking about 1% of the whole world, that would be about 70 million people. Do we have that many crowns?

  16. Demand #9 based on the Meidner plan – you should instead look into what this poster says: http://owsposters.tumblr.com/post/12773323947/convert-all-corporations-to-b-corporations

  17. I simply would like to see that while I agree with the anti-bank sentiments of these demands, the approach I find very erroneous and poorly thought out.

    The notion that if work to open your own company that the government can force you to sell shares of it to employees is very much against what I believe in. Owning your company is no different than owning your own home, and I fee that right is very much overlooked and disrespected.

    An expansion of government backed student loans is the last thing we need. Government involvement in college tuition funding is what has caused the prices to rise at triple the rate of inflation. We need government entirely removed from the scenario so that schools are forced to operate within the constraints of the marketplace.
    If universities want to continue making tuition costs outrageous, may they suffer the consequences of low attendance due to those costs, such as any other over-priced service. The notion that working class people that were unable to go to college should be forced to subsidize inflated college costs for their would-be employment competitors is a ridiculous idea just from a stand point of principle or morality, let alone the financial reality that it does not really benefit those attending the colleges to begin with.

    Health insurance needs only one revision- a revocation of every state’s individual power to regulate the industry within their state. The regulations are written to protect in-state monopolies and inhibits the natural market competition that would typically arise in the absence of these ridiculous regulations.

    As an example, the state of Hawaii has 2 insurance companies that account for 98% of ALL active policies. Why would anyone expect reasonable pricing when there are no alternatives?

    The problem is not the profit motive of these companies, it is that outside companies seeking profit by under-cutting those monopolies are prohibited from doing so by the state government of Hawaii. How hard would it be to price gouge on Ebay if all of your competitors were barred by law from using it?

    I agree whole heartedly on stopping all foreign wars, but we must demand more. A closure to all foreign military bases, as Ron Paul has stated numerous times would be his intention as president.

    We will simply agree to disagree on the addition of safety nets. I find no honor or compassion in asking your government to bully your neighbor on your behalf. If we want people in this country to be compassionate and care for their fellow man again, we must endow them with the moral responsibility of being personally accountable for helping others.

    We must no longer simply allow others to wave off the needs of others using the crutch of state-sponsored aid programs as an excuse. It has been proven over and over that on a busy road, virtually no one will stop and help those that are stranded on the side due to the assumption that someone else will help them. On a desert road where they know not another car will come by again for hours, they stop almost every single time.

    We must apply this same principle to caring for our elders and our downtrodden. Expanding these programs only further instills an attitude of irresponsibility. We need to work to phase these programs out and drill into the heads of today’s youth that they should not expect the government to assume what is their responsibility as an able bodied, young American. The government does not exist to do your chores and take care of others on your behalf. It exists to protect your person, your rights, and your property. It is your duty to take care of those less fortunate than you, not a government bureau.

    I could write many, many more paragraphs on our disagreements, but I think a lot more critical thought needs to go into these demands. Pushing for public ownership of these particular industries and functions are not in the best interest of this nation, and I sincerely mean that.

    • I don’t think our primary problem is the lack of motivation of poor people and so I don’t see the solution being to further impoverish those who lack means to support themselves. We should put the same criteria of accountability on the real criminals, the financial industry which has manipulated the regulations to allow themselves to profit off of selling junk mortgages as triple A investments and in so doing bankrupted our economy and thrown millions of hardworking Americans our of their homes.

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