John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

Write down this website – http://occupytogether.org/ – and put it on you Bookmarks list, or whatever function your particular home computer has as part of its operating system.

It will be important later, at least I hope it will.

In case anyone is wondering, the web address refers to an organization that sprang up in response to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street campaign, which in turn sprang up in response to … well, in response to so much that is wrong with this country and the world, it will be difficult to enumerate here.

But before I go on, I’d like to say a word or two about our country.

This may come as a shock to some readers, but I actually love the good old U.S. of A. For one thing, as my critics are quick to point out, I have a measure of freedom of speech here that exists nowhere else.

As has been said before about the great political experiment known as America, it may not be perfect, but it’s the best we’ve been able to come up with so far.

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It’s the “so far” bit that always gets me thinking. And writing. Because it’s my opinion, based on more than half a century of observation, that much of what we had right in how we run things in this nation has been tossed out some figurative window onto the sidewalks below.

This applies to everything from how our economy is managed (or mismanaged, depending on your perspective) to our views on the separation of church and state, crime and punishment and whether corporations are really individuals deserving the same rights and privileges as people, to mention but a few indications of where we’re wrong.

One of our biggest problems is that big chunks of what we tossed out that figurative window (see above) have landed on the heads of those below. The resulting concussive trauma, readily seen from the dazed expressions on an uncomfortable number of faces everywhere, could easily have been avoided had we on the sidewalk looked up and ducked.

Or, more to the point, had those doing the tossing taken a break and given a little more thought to what they were doing.

In that roundabout fashion I come back to my earlier notion, that the website mentioned earlier might come in handy, especially for those feeling as I do, that somehow the moral compass of our nation has lost its magnetic bearings and is pointing in the wrong direction altogether.

On Wall Street right now, or nearby if authorities have had their way, are hundreds or thousands of people protesting over the wrong turns this nation has taken.

They are students, they are blue-collar workers, there are even said to be a few suits and ties among them. Hundreds are camping out and have been for a couple of weeks, despite the best efforts of the police to dislodge them. Thousands wander by for a look-see, or in support of the idea behind it all, which is to bring some light to bear on those aforementioned wrong turns and get people thinking about how this country can get back on track.

But the most interesting point of all this is that it is not confined to the Wall Street protest.

No, like any movement based on a just and understandable cause, it has spawned others to do likewise in other parts of the U.S.

Hence, the website, which lists the occupation efforts in such unlikely places as Denver, Colo.; Birmingham, Ala.; Indianapolis, Ind. and other spots where one might not expect a spark of free thinking and social action to take hold.

And the list is growing, which gives heart to even the most hardened cynics such as myself, who have long worried that there is no possibility of true reform for our economy and our electoral system. Both have been seized by self-interested zealots whose goals have nothing to do with truth, justice or the real American way.

So, check it out if you dare. See what’s going on. Go to the nearest “Occupy” location and learn for yourself about possibilities and hope.

Oh, and my short and far from complete list of what’s wrong in this country, way up near the top of this screed?

I caught a bumper sticker recently about one aspect of that list, which read, “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

As they say on Facebook, I like that.

jcolson@aspentimes.com

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