I would like to thank the community of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Police Department for all the support we received while standing on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Fifth Street with our Occupy Steamboat protest signs. The police not only helped us deal with an obnoxious drunk who was yelling obscenities when he tried to join us, they also helped when a conspiracy theorist harassed us and assaulted me.
What I and the rest of the 99 percent of the population are not grateful for is how our political system has become riddled with corruption and problems of every sort. The Occupy Wall Street movement is a catalyst for positive change that will reach all corners of our country. For example, I marched in Denver with well more than 1,000 people on Saturday. The Denver police praised us, and we praised the Denver police. We are the 99 percent, and our movement is growing daily.
On Jan. 21, 2010, in the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court granted corporations and unions full citizen status, giving them freedom to contribute unlimited amounts to political campaigns. That was the nail in the coffin that destroyed what little we had left of real democracy. With the massive amounts of money that corporations are capable of generating, they are able to exert far greater influence in politics than the individual taxpayer, effectively disenfranchising most of us — the 99 percent. In a nutshell, our votes don’t count.
Democracy is defined as rule by the people where all people have an equal say in government. Plutocracy is defined as government by the wealthy — legalized corruption at its finest — and that is what we have now.
We need real campaign funding reform and true democracy. To restore democracy, each person’s vote needs to count the same as the next. Campaign funding must be 100 percent transparent, regulated and capped so each candidate has the same amount to spend.
The Occupy Wall Street movement will grow bigger, louder and stronger, and it won’t go away until true democracy is restored in our country.
Gary R. Burman
Lincoln City, Ore.