My knees trembled as the March continued through Washington, D.C., from the Supreme Court to the White House. I had been on my feet nearly 12 hours, in the cold and windy rain, in my suit and in the mud. On top of that, I had been on a hunger strike all day, in solidarity with DC Voting Rights. I was exhausted, but it was the shared and cumulative energy of the marching and chanting crowd that kept my feet moving.
I have been following the Occupy movement since its beginning, but I have not been actively involved for several reasons -- mostly because I, like many people, am very busy. But I have made a concerted effort, such as when I took photos at the Occupy DC barn razing, when Occupy the DC Vote went to Capitol Hill, or the time when I let a couple of occupiers stay at my house on a cold night. But Occupy Congress gave me a new spark, a new reason to get involved.
Politically, I lean neither left nor right, but I am very strongly in support of serious changes to the way our government operates. I once avoided politics altogether, but found a new optimism in seeing that inevitably, we must change or we will fall. The Tea Party tried to change Congress, but the dysfunction has only gotten worse. I see 2012 as a year when we might be able to take the next exit off of this treacherous superhighway that we have found ourselves on, a highway that is increasingly unsustainable and prone to crisis.
For Occupy Congress, I decided to give it my all, so I could not look back and regret that I did not try hard enough. I prepared documents for ten different pieces of legislation, all of them directly related to values held by the Occupy Movement. This was not an official guide on the Movement's position on legislation, rather, it was to educate people about bills that are already in Congress in case they should want to take part in the democratic process. Simply knowing a bill number can go a long way.
For example, H.R. 1489 would reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, and it already has 57 cosponsors.
There is another bill that speaks directly to the 99%: it's called the "Restore the American Dream for the 99%" Act (H.R. 3638).
And of course there is the OCCUPIED Amendent (H.J.Res. 90), where OCCUPIED is a very clever acronym for Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in Elections and Democracy.
For Occupy Congress, I hope that the Occupy Movements can become more productive as a whole. That there can be real, tangible results and victories. The Bush tax cuts were set to expire years ago, yet the Occupy movement has been unable push Congress to let them expire. Bad bills have passed, good bills have died. The Occupy movement, with its radical form of democracy, has gained little credibility in the media and in Congress. Without putting aside the Democratic values of the Occupy movement, is it possible to achieve any goals? I certainly hope so.
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