Sunday, May 25, 2014

Liberty or Socialism? A March For Democracy

Protest of Deceit -Stallion Springs, California
There were nine people that passed very near my home yesterday on what they called a "march for democracy." They were walking all the way from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

I live out in the mountain countryside of central California, at the end of a "cul-de-sac" valley. It seemed like a strange route choice. I grabbed my camera and captured a few photographs of the protesters.

"We need to take the money out of politics, man," one person said to me as I clicked the shutter. Someone else invited me to come along and join them.

I was curious about this group, so at home I opened up my laptop and begun to research. There was quite a bit that I found right away.
Model Mediocrity - Stallion Springs, California
This "march for democracy" is by a group called 99Rise. They claim that the reason for this march is in protest to some Supreme Court decisions regarding campaign contributions by businesses and wealthy individuals. So they're going from L.A. to Sacramento to show their outrage.

But this isn't logical. What does Sacramento have to do with the Supreme Court? One is state government, one is federal. There is no connection.

If it is indeed the Supreme Court that has these people upset, why not protest in Washington D.C.? Why not protest in front of the Court Building? Or in front of the White House? The President is who appoints the Justices. Or in front of Congress? They're the ones who must confirm the appointments.

Then I discovered who this group really is. 99Rise is a spin off of the Occupy crowds. You may remember that the Occupy people were upset at the corruption in Wall Street and among the wealthy. The solutions that they demanded were higher taxes and increased government regulations. Ironically, they wanted the federal government to stop the corporate corruption, yet the federal government is more corrupt than Wall Street. This is called barking up the wrong tree.
A Step Behind - Stallion Springs, California
The Occupy crowd is who coined the phrases "one percenters" and "99 percenters" regarding the richest 1% of American and the other 99% of America. They made those rich 1% out to be evil, awful people. Interestingly, it was one of those one percenters that heavily funded their protests. The name 99Rise comes from the phrase 99 percenters, and is supposed to mean the 99% rising up against the 1%.

Now 99Rise is openly and proudly socialist. Right on their website many of the leaders list being socialist as one of their character traits. Socialism hates success because it isn't "fair" that some do well while others do not. It isn't fair that there are one percenters.

Socialism ensures equality of outcome. In the best examples, socialism ensures mediocrity for all. In the worst examples, it offers depression for all. Greatness is not only discouraged, but it is punished. It never builds up, it only tears down.

The Canadian rock band Rush has a great song that illustrates socialism. It is called The Trees, and you can hear it below:

The song concludes So the maples formed a union and demanded equal rights. "The oaks are just to greedy, we will make them give us light!" Now there's no more oak oppression for they passed a noble law. And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, ax and saw.

This "march for democracy" is not about the Supreme Court decision. Sure, they disagree with it and it is something they can rally around. The real purpose of the protest, however, is to demand that California do what it can to give us an equal outcome. They want the California government to cut the rich down to size by metaphoric hatchets, axes and saws. They want to tax the wealthy even more.

The 1% wealthiest Americans earn almost 19% of all the money earned in a year in this country, yet they pay over 37% of the total federal tax burden each year (that's not including other taxes). The bottom 99% earn over 81% of all the money earned in a year, and they pay less than 63% of the total federal tax burden. The one percenters are already paying more than their fair share, yet the 99 percenters want to make them give more and more.

But I don't want to focus on wealth classes. I'm not going to defend the rich or demand sympathy for those who are not. There is a larger picture here.
Summer Patriot - Stallion Springs, California
What has made America great is great opportunity. This is one of the few places in the world, and perhaps the only place, where if you want to be successful--if you want to accomplish something truly great--you can. It matters not who you are or what your history is. It makes no difference if you have money or not. If you want to do the seemingly impossible, you can by working hard and never giving up. When you fail, you pick yourself up from the bootstraps and try even harder. The only thing standing in your way is yourself.

At one time in this country we celebrated independence. We celebrated freedom. We yearned for liberty. We made no guarantees of how things would turn out, but everyone was given equal opportunity to become great if they so chose.

Now it seems that we are willingly giving up equal opportunity for equal outcome. We are giving up the chance for greatness for the security of mediocrity. We no longer applaud success, but root against it instead.

The most frightening thing I found about 99Rise is something that they are planning this spring (I guess it will either happen really soon or be delayed). According to their website, they are putting together an "army" to "put their bodies on the line to engage in the largest civil disobedience action in American history." This sounds like a group to stay far, far away from.

The one thing that gives me hope is that the march for democracy has only nine protesters. Yes, nine. This is  a small group of people that don't represent the majority of Americans.

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