Last night, I was one of over thirty protesters arrested at “People’s Park” on the Iowa State Capitol grounds. Honestly, I was surprised by the hostile response of the State Patrol. We were on public property and obstructing neither vehicular nor pedestrian traffic. We were peaceful. We were exercising our right to freedom of speech and to petition our government. The demeanor of many of the troopers made no sense to me, especially coming from a division of State Government that I respect and worked well with when I was a state lawmaker.
Today, as I dialogue with some of the 500 people who participated in yesterday’s “occupy” events, it appears the arrests have only further fueled people’s commitment to push the movement forward. (AND PLEASE ADD YOUR VOICE TO THE DIALOGUE, 6:00 PM, EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK AT PEOPLE’S PARK, E. 7TH AND LOCUST IN DES MOINES).
Speaking personally, I am pleased that the group’s focus has been on State Government. Why? Because of State Government’s complicity in furthering corporate domination of our lives.
– Tax breaks for powerful insurance companies, mega hospitals, and wealthy developers, to name a few.
– Law changes that favor the interests of big ag over small- and mid-size family farms, resulting in, for example, a drop in the number of pork producers from roughly 80,000 not too many years ago to under 8,000 today.
– The creation of corporate welfare programs to pad the coffers of companies already rich and powerful, companies like Wells Fargo, Monsanto, Maytag, and Iowa Beef Processors.
– Preferential law changes for MidAmerican Energy, central Iowa’s utility monopoly, including a proposed rate-payer give-away that could cost 630,000 customers billions of dollars.
The list goes on and on. The point is, State Government should be the People’s Government. It’s become Big Business’ Government. What better place to reclaim a say in how our tax dollars are spent than in the shadow of the State Capitol Building, in “People’s Park?”
And what better time to get involved, even to the point of serving jail time? Truly, things can’t get too much worse before we’ll be unable to turn our country (and our planet) around. Every man and woman of conscience needs to do what he or she can. The stakes are high. The movement is engaged. I am deeply encouraged by what I’ve seen across the country these past few weeks, and I am inspired by how Iowans are now adding our voices to the growing chorus of Americans committed to turning this country around.
This week on the Fallon Forum, we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments in this historic, grassroots people’s movement. Beyond this, we’ve got conversations planned on the death penalty (Monday), marriage equality (Tuesday), tax law (Wednesday), and domestic abuse (Thursday).
This week’s Fallon Forum Freebie is a $25 gift certificate to Campbell’s Nutrition, locally owned and serving the Des Moines metro for over 60 years. Check out Campbell’s at two locations: 42nd and University in Des Moines and 100th and University in Urbandale.