Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

In searching for my video clip for last week's post I came across this image.  In the first days of Occupy Wall Street as the activists marched down Wall Street power lunchers at the Cipriani Club 55 enjoyed the spectacle from the club's balcony, champagne and cocktails in hand.  This video has understandably bothered many people because it seems to define the attitude of Wall Street.  We are untouchable from our perch, and we know it. Cheers.

I went online to read more about the Cipriani Club 55, and I found this description on their website:

The Club will provide you everything essential to live the good life.  The on-site Cipriani Clubb 55 is the natural extension of your professional and social life; an outstanding restaurant, a proper bar, a stylish and complete library, a traditional barber shop, a discreet business lounge, a full-service spa, a billiard room, a state-of-the-art screening room and Cipriani boutique.  The 24 hour concierge service, carried out by the best professionals in New York, will make the world become small and easy.  We like the pursuit of happiness for all our customers.

I love this.  Particularly the last two sentences.  The world for the top 1% is delectably small and easy.  
Last Saturday, my daughters and I went to Occupy Jacksonville.  It was their first experience as activists and it was open and welcoming.  

There were hundreds of people there representing a big world that is far from easy.  Elderly people, professional people, college kids, families, homeless people, the whole gamut. We came out in the middle of a tropical storm in solidarity with our fellow Americans.  The rain held out for was that perfect windy tumultuous weather that adds a spark to the air before a storm.  City council member, Don Redman, tried to shut the gathering down, but the police would not engage...probably because of the 48 officers that had been laid off the week before by the City.  And besides...we were just private citizens peacefully enjoying a day at a public park.

Many people have asked me lately why did I go to Occupy Jacksonville?  What is this movement about.  And ironically enough I think I found my answer in the luxurious description of Cipriani Club 55 that echos our very Declaration of Independence.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is about the pursuit of happiness.  My two favorite Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson declared it an "unalienable right" for all Americans in the Declaration of Independence.  Most of us find ourselves today playing by the rules, doing what our parents did to get ahead and provide us with a better life, a happier life, but our own government no longer protects or even recognizes our unalienable rights.  This is because our legal system is held in the iron grip of Corporate America.  Since corporations were given personhood in the 1800's their unalienable rights just seem to grow over the years while ours diminish.

But they are not human beings, they are entities created by human beings.  Like robots.  They do not have one heart, corporations are comprised of millions of hearts.  The hearts of those that work to make them successful, and the hearts of those who support them as consumers.  The fastest way to the human heart is through the stomach.  

Starve the beast.  Buy local.  Support small business, not Big business.  Put what little money you have where your mouth is...because to the Wall Street Club money talks.    

Oh and share this with folks if you find any truth in it.   We all need to keep the dialogue rolling.

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