Occupy Denver: Read the letters Denver's 99 percent wrote to President Barack Obama
Occupy Denver has launched a call-to-action in advance of Barack Obama's trip to Denver. The plan is for the president, here for a fundraiser and a jobs speech, to receive a bag of letters from the local 99 percent. Although the details of that plan are under wraps, the group posted a request on its site for Denver residents to pen and e-mail their personal statements to the man in charge. Read six examples below.
Although the majority of the letters so far have been e-mailed, writers may also drop off more personal responses at the group's campsite in Civic Center Park, between Colfax and 14th on Broadway. Thanks to Occupy Denver's events committee, the group working on the letter campaign, Westword was given copies of a few messages that will be in the batch given to Obama.
The group is still accepting letters as of now, and writers are encouraged to detail their personal experiences as members of the 99 percent. (If you are a member of the 1 percent, you're also welcome.) As a whole, Occupy Denver is advocating the support of the American Indian Movement's campaign against the Keystone-XL pipeline that the occupation's website says will "bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, crossing many pristine lands including the Ogallala aquifer."
Here's the first sample.
A crowd gathers for a speech at Saturday's Occupy Denver concert and rally.
Dear Mr. President,
My husband and I worked for your election in 2008, going door to door, entering voter registration data, and making meals for your local campaign workers. We donated money to your campaign, as much as we could afford. We were elated when you won the election.
Then you put the foxes in charge of the henhouse. Larry Summers? Timothy Geithner? Really? These were the people who were going to make the economy better? Well they did their jobs. Things got better. For the 1%, that is.
But still we believed in you. We spent hours on the phone, trying to drum up support for the Affordable Health Care Act. Now I feel as if I wasted my time, and my money. No public option. Not even the hint of a discussion about single payer, which would have been the best cost-saving way to provide health care for ALL Americans. Just a big bonus for the Big Insurance companies.
When people were in the streets of Madison, standing up for their jobs, their dignity, against a governor openly in the pay of the Koch brothers, where were you? Didn't hear much from that guy who campaigned saying he would be on the front lines with labor in defense of their livelihoods.
I know you are thinking that you can't do the impossible. You couldn't get this or that through congress. But when you had the democratic majority in both houses, how hard did you really try? You don't come to the negotiating table and start with offering the other side everything it wants, and bargain things downhill from there. You demand the moon and wind up somewhere in the middle. Don't you have a single person in your administration with any union negotiating experience? For a smart person, you make me wonder. And what I wonder is if your heart isn't really in fighting for the 99%.
You're fond of quoting Franklin Roosevelt, when he said that if people wanted him to make sweeping changes, they had to MAKE him do it. What you sweep under the rug was how he wasn't afraid to open his mouth and challenge the monied interests, how, in fact, he stated that he "welcomed their hatred." I think you don't want to antagonize the monied interests, because you want their money in your campaign coffers. And that's too bad, because what it makes you is not a fighter for the 99%.
It makes you the lesser of two evils.
And man, I'm really tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.
No, I will never, ever vote republican. So you will probably get my vote in 2012, unless some truly progressive candidate appears, which is unlikely. But you won't get any of my money, partly since I have less to give, having been laid off from my job. And you will certainly not get my enthusiasm.
The only hope I get now is from the people out there, in the Occupy movement, who have put themselves on the line. They will get my money, such as it is, to help them get through the winter. They will get my enthusiasm -- I have marched with them in Denver several times, and will do so every time they have an action.
People are hurting, really hurting. Young people feel as if they have no future. Why are you so quiescent? It would be nice if you would get some courage and come out on their side, not half-heartedly, not back-handedly, but unequivocally.
That would be change I could believe in.
Name removed for the sake of privacy
An Occupy Denver protester holds a corporate flag during a quiet Sunday.
Dear President Obama,
I am among millions of people tired, and frustrated of our government. I demand to be listened to, and I will not stop campaigning for true equality in terms of access to opportunity until it is achieved.
The school system is failing and our children are paying the price for Washington's wreckless policies. We need to provide every child access to the same quality of schools. Separate but equal was never equal, and it isn't today. Some children are provided with laptops from their public schools, while others cannot even get the text books they need.
Democracy has failed us. We need to provide our children from all economic back ground with the same opportunity or else, there is no way for them to get ahead.
We need higher taxes. But not from the middle and lower classes who continually struggle to get by. We need higher taxes on the extremely wealthy who spend their money frivolously. A slightly higher tax increase from those in the upper class could, if done correctly could reverse the recession and decrease our debt as a nation. Higher taxes on the wealthy could and should be used to increase the quality of life for every person in the country struggling daily to provide for their families.
You are the president. You have the power to enforce taxes which will provide new jobs, new opportunities, and a better nation as a whole.
We will continue occupying cities across the nation and gain more and more support until we are listened to. We need to fix this nation before it is too far gone.
I thank you for all your hard work, and endless fighting for the people. You can still do more by listening to these letters from the people who want change.
Name removed for the sake of privacy
Dear President Obama,
I am the mother of two young children. In our school we have 30 students per teacher. How are our kids going to excel in that kind of environment? Our teachers are stressed to the max and parents are constantly being asked by the schools to make up the difference by asking our kids to become salespeople for Corporations to sell their cookie dough, candy, etc. I want my kids in school to learn, not to be free labor for Corporations. In addition, parents are paying extra "taxes" to help the schools stay afloat, fees for everything from books to sports, huge fees! This is not right.
What are politicians in Washington doing about 22-40% child poverty? When will unemployment be addressed? I see nothing being done!
President Obama, when are you going to fire Tim Geithner, Eric Holder and ask Ben Bernanke to resign? They are bought out ones who represent the 1%, the rich and corporations who got us into this economic mess in the first place. When are you going to put people in charge who will help the 99%? When are you going to investigate the fraud? When will you put REAL cops on the beat to investigate Wall Street? When will the Fed be accountable and transparent? When will you be accountable?
When will you investigate War Criminals and violations of the Geneva Conventions which you are required to do by international law? Why are there so many laws for the 99% and not enforceable for the 1%?
When will you take on big oil and stop the dangerous and environmentally risky deep water oil drilling? When are you going to create a new Green Energy economy?
Hello President Obama,
The movement for Change has begun. Those of us who have been supporting your leadership up to this point are in a difficult position. Since the Changes promised during your election campaign have not come to fruition (for a variety of reasons, though corruption throughout the system tops the list), such as sufficient climate change/alternative energy legislation, indigenous rights legislation, the dream of healthcare for all... we have chosen to rise and Be The Change we have sought.
I, personally, am not asking for your help. I don't look to you to make the Change that this country and our world as a Whole now needs. This brief email (and I believe this movement) instead offers an invitation. Join the People in taking a stand against corruption within our political and financial system, led by corporations gone unchecked.
Unchecked until Now.
Name removed for the sake of privacy
One of the incarnations of Occupy Denver's Thunderdome.
We are writing this letter to implore you to action on a number of vital, current, interests facing our country today. We hope you will take our opinions to heart and act in the best interest of the citizens of the United States.
First, please block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project is a dangerous and flawed exercise in extending the "petroleum party" phase of global energy use. The risks of a 1700-mile pipeline crossing vital North American aquifers are simply too much to be practical. Any sizable spill (which WILL happen eventually, given these pipelines' track record -- that this pipeline was in planning during the Yellowstone spill serves as an example) puts a vast amount of our nation's water supply at risk. Even if you accept the claim that the oil will be extracted from the tar sands with or without a pipeline, why does the oil slurry then need to be transported halfway across a continent to be refined? If the extraction and chemical refinement processes have as little environmental impact as some of the studies claim, why don't the Canadians build refineries in Alberta and perform those activities there? Clearly TransCanada wants the refinement to happen far, far, away.
It was very troubling to see such a profound lack of concern and response from the White House when over 2,000 people, including notable scientists, were peacefully arrested in civil disobedience, on a daily basis, on the White House lawn, in protest against the Keystone Pipeline. It has likewise been troubling to see a stronger effort at collaboration between your administration and the Keystone Pipeline lobby, than at establishing a sufficient dialogue between you and the concerned citizens. It is also a concern to see the EPA being consistently disregarded on environmental matters. Despite your election campaign promises, there has been insignificant indication of environmental regard during your term as President. We ask that you strongly consider the importance of preserving and improving the quality of the land and air for our future generations.
Second, the White House and Executive Branch of the federal government needs to address the concerns and demonstrations of the Occupy Movement. This is a broad-reaching, truly grass-roots, organization (to use the term very loosely) expressing extreme discontent at the current state of the country during these troubling and difficult times. As American families feel more and more fiscal pressure and any light at the end of the tunnel is growing dimmer, corporate America seems as determined as ever to squeeze every last penny out of distressed households with no concern for the welfare of their consumers and employees. The blatant hypocrisy over the changes in debit card fees (immediately shifting costs from businesses to consumers) is just one example of the callous greed that is increasingly characterizing American businesses.
We request that your Administration acknowledges that American households are being backed into a financial corner, and feeling that the government cares only about corporations and not about citizens. This is the time for corporate America to do what it can to help bolster the economic outlook of families, not to continue to grab as much as it can in the name of profit and executive bonuses. We request that your Administration recognize this and begin a call to action for big businesses to recognize the economic difficulties of everyday people and act in the best interests of ALL concerned; producers, distributors, and consumers alike.
As a simple example, it seems that fast food outlets have done wonderful volumes of business with the low-priced "value meals" that appeal to the budget-minded. Could other industries not act in a similar manner, by offering a range of options to their consumers, and allowing each individual to choose from amongst their options?
Restricting monopolies is necessary for encouraging competition and a price point that isn't constantly increasing. Constant increase unfortunately most affects those who are the least capable of coping with the change. Please spearhead a country-wide effort to bring some relief to the average American through the market, as well as through doing what the federal government can to help people who are in need during these trying times.
I hope you will read this and reflect upon these issues. As has been said before, "What is right with America can fix what is wrong with America," and I hope you can lead that change to the benefit of us all and our future.
Name removed for the sake of privacy
Dear Mr. President,
I will keep this short in hopes that you will have many of these to read over. I'm a 26 year old US citizen with an education, in fairness not a very good one. Like many of my fellow citizens I was elated to be able to vote for what you said you stood for during your campaign. Now, like my fellow citizens, I feel embarrassed to have believed in something that turned out to be a sham. You have not acted in favor of the American people as well as the people of the world.
I'm afraid for you that unless you do not begin to listen up, your legacy will be tarnished with the lies and hypocrisy displayed throughout your presidency. Convince politicians to do the job we pay them to do (all be it you all probably get more money from rich special interest groups). The American people are tired of politicians like your self who act only as the grease of the corporate elite's war/sickness/exploitation/degradation/pollutant machine. There is no honor amongst politicians and We the People are completely disillusioned.
An American citizen
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver clashes with police over the creation of a cardboard structure (PHOTOS)."
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