Posted 5 years ago on Aug. 17, 2012, 10:50 a.m. EST by Krypton
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I grew up an adopted child, fascinated with the character Superman (hence my screen name), and have strived to act in accordance with what I see as the ideals attributed to him by hundreds of writers over the years.
Although I've done my best to help old ladies cross the street whenever possible, I never followed politics, and considered those who obsessed over national and world news to be wasting their lives, preferring for myself to focus on my own tiny sphere, and to try and find happiness in the "little things".
Politics had always seemed, to me, to be a game of pandering and lies, and duping the public by any means necessary. In my admitted ignorance, I was not off base, but I failed to understand how that game impacted my tiny sphere, and the "little things" of life. I assumed that no candidate could convincingly appear genuine to my eyes and ears, while being corrupt, so I passively stood behind candidates that I'd liked to "have a beer with" (not GWB, but Clinton, definitely), while sticking my head in the sand to what policies were really being enacted. I was a sheep.
I claimed to be a Democrat by reason of virtue, based on the party line, although I was not registered to vote, as I would not believe that the electoral system wasn't corrupted and rigged. 2004's presidential "election" seemed to validate my views, as I started growing up, and everyday conversations were either focused on politics or professional sports (an industry I've felt, since age 13, was a complete waste of time at best, and a manufactured spectacle, distracting the populace from the very real decline of society going on all around them), I started paying attention.
Not enough attention, though, as I was living in Savannah, Georgia, noticing every day the worsening of the economy - amplified by that town's reliance on tourism, which was one of the first industries hit by the recession - and being essentially poor, I had no internet, or cable TV, and therefore was lacking in viable news sources. I could follow the day's events but had no readily available way to look behind the scenes. I knew Bush Jr. was a joke, as he appeared mentally deficient, and couldn't help but rebel against my Georgian friends' staunch Republican rants, but I had no knowledge base to , if pressed, back up my feelings, so I stayed out of it.
I moved back to my hometown in Pennsylvania in 2009, running from the tidal wave of poverty that was hot on my heels. The only job I could get was at a little seafood market, run by more rabid Republicans. I met my future wife and settled down, with my $10 an hour barely supporting us. That lasted for 3 years, during which my wife was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease. I worked hard. The seafood market thrived on repeat business by a still-wealthy clientele of NY and Philly corporate executives, holed up in the countryside. Raises were promised and forgotten. All the while I had to listen to my bosses' rants about how "that nigger" was raping America, beaten down and threatened with unemployment when I protested their views.
Some of what they said was hard to argue against, though. Government bloat did appear to be out of control, and I could somewhat understand how the tax structure could be difficult for small businesses. I started seeing Obama's failings and looked into the Libertarian party. Reading Hayek and Friedman, and identifying with Ron Paul, made economic freedom seem ideal. I still couldn't find it in myself to trust an unchecked free market, based on the idea that I couldn't rationalize trusting big business to look out for its workers without government intervention. I didn't trust big business, and I didn't trust the government. I was in an ideological bind.
OWS came along and I started to see that others felt the same way, and were vocal about it. That it wasn't a matter of sides anymore. Not a matter of politics, but of common sense. A matter of virtue. A matter of doing right by your fellow human (not to mention the planet), versus knowingly acting out of greed. I started reading Chomsky, Hedges, Reich, Krugman, Hartmann, and Johnston, as well as Thomas Paine. I wanted to act. I wanted to participate in the protests, but my dedication to my wife, her debilitation and slow recovery, kept (and keeps) me from being able to break away from the daily grind.
I have a large burning pit in my stomach from not being able to act to the extent I feel is necessary, for this nation to defeat the evil of corporate oligarchy, and somehow restore integrity, the valuing of human life, and honest virtue. I quit my job, a month ago, in a blaze of glory (rash foolishness), and am currently waiting for a callback about a promised entry-level position at a neighborhood grocery store. My wife and I rent, thank god, and we're living off savings, which is bad, but we're okay for the time being. I'm also working to start my own inexpensive graphic design business, focusing exclusively on helping small businesses advertise and grow.
I apologize for going off like this, but it's to let you all know where I'm coming from and that I'd like to help in any way that I can, without sacrificing my wife's well-being. I'm not able to be as mobile these days, but the fire inside me has never burned more intensely. This is quite literally a fight for our lives. Not just for our children's future, but for our future. Tomorrow.
2013 must not become the new "1984".