(“Why I’m here” is a series of essays, written by different members of Occupy Binghamton, to explain two simple things: Why they are a part of the movement, and what end results they wish to see. This is done in the hope of greater understanding of one another, and so we may find what common ground we have, being such a diverse group, and moving forward with that.)
By: Nico Meyering
My name is Nico. I’m part of the Occupy Binghamton movement because I see the exact same faces at nearly all of my area-based volunteer efforts. The men and women who come to my weekly soup kitchen are the same men and women I see in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, and these are also the same men and women who are suffering most from the region’s recent flood.
I come from an upper-middle class family, and I was raised to believe that I had a duty to help the less fortunate. Sadly, this belief isn’t shared by the vast majority of the American uber-rich. We’re not just living in a “me first” world. We’re living in a “me first, you last” world. I’m here because honesty is an incredibly important trait for me, and if I look at my life honestly, I have to reconcile myself with the fact that there are things I will never be able to do.
America’s society and sociopolitical environment is rapidly growing into one where we’d sooner slash Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other government assistance programs than narrow the gap between the Rich and the Rest Of Us. We have a new American dream these days: it used to be something like, “If you work hard, you will succeed.” Now, it’s “If you have a lot of money, you can do anything!”
I rely on Social Security. I rely on Medicaid. I have relied on college loans and on public transit. I am unspectacular in this regard; remember, if the Rich win, I will suffer. We will all suffer.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied to the American public and were indirectly responsible for the murder of many US servicepeople and Iraqi civilians. They got away with it. With few exceptions, big honchos on Wall Street fleeced investors and the American public out of millions of dollars. They got away with it. I am a firm believer in punishing those who do wrong things, and it grates on me to know that these bastards got away with murder, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively.
We must not fracture, we must get angry. We must not lay down, we must speak out. We must not be easily placated, we must demand our share. My sense of social justice is tied heavily into my sense of social retribution.
My goals for the movement are these:
- Increased outrage over the aforementioned income gap.
- An increased call for more entry-level jobs.
- Reduced college costs.
- An increase in the number of white-collar criminals tried and convicted for various money-based crimes.”