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October 18, 2011

We're Calling it 'Harvest'

We're Calling it 'Harvest'

By Kathy Reschini Sweeney, retail veteran

FalldecorationsIt's fall.  School is back in full swing.  Apple orchards are booming.  Corn mazes, hay rides, Halloween is in sight, and that kicks off the holiday season.

If you've ever worked in retail or in marketing, you know that the most important thing about September-December is sales.  Hence, the need to come up with a reason for people to buy more stuff. This year, it's the concept of Harvest.  Have a Halloween wreath for the front door or a pumpkin for the hall table?  Get with it.  It's all about the Harvest this year.  Fall leaves, tree cones, branches, squash and other fall vegetables, stalks of wheat or whatever - that's what everyone needs to say "Oh yeah, I'm hip to the home decor scene."  Or maybe not.

Perhaps in a nod to the economy, most stores and catalogs are no longer trying to push the expensive stuff - the Hammacher Schlemmer $5,000 life-size hay wagon, for example, is long gone.  Which reminds me - I have to say it - who in the HELL spends that kind of money for something they've only seen  on glossy, photoshopped paper?  Seriously! Must be that 1%, or their staff.  

Images-4Which is the other big harvest concept this year.  We the People (you remember us, the ones who sought to form a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility?) are finally starting to gear up to clean house.  For the first time in at least a decade, people are demonstrating - in large numbers and in an overwhelmingly peaceful manner, in an effort to get our elected officials and the bagmen who elect them, to pay attention to what is actually going on outside of their leather and marble offices.

It started with a young, grass-fed, I mean, grass-roots, group of people who didn't even have a clear vision of their grievances or goals.  And it grew - across the country and across the world.  There have been public governance and public safety problems (that is smooth talk for political chicanery and police brutality) but the movement grows.  Just last weekend, OccupyPittsburgh set up its formal protest area.

If you want to support these movements, there are ways to do it other than camping out.  They need supplies and water and blankets and all kinds of things.  If you do not want to support these movements, then stay the hell out of it.  Nobody is making anyone join, or camp, or protest, or anything else.

But pay attention.  This is democracy in action.  This - the peaceful assembly and speech of The People - and the resultant non-violent transfer of power that occurs with each November election, is our greatest gift.

Democracy is hard and messy business - if it were easy, more people would do it without bloodshed. And, as our young country ages, we are having growing pains.  It's a little scary, when we look around and realize our executive, legislative and judicial systems may no longer be truly representative. There is no glib answer, except that we cannot simply let it disintegrate into a form of government that no longer protects and defends the rights of all The People.

The answer is not name-calling or vilifying or violence - not that I don't personally enjoy all of those things.  Those tactics are the marks of the ignorant and close-minded.  The answer is peace and collective action - to take the country in whatever direction you think it should go.

Because you could have the most sublime decorations in the world on your front porch, but if the inside of your house is chaos, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.








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Right on, Kathy! Occupy Norfolk is hanging out just a few blocks from our apartment. I think I'll check to see if they need anything I can supply.

I listened yesterday to a guy on NPR discussing the need for the "big middle" - the large group of middle-class, relatively centrist folks - to become as active and vocal as the far left and far right if we want to realize the changes we think are important. I'm not sure how to make that happen, but it's worth thinking about.

You go, girl! And I like the practicality of blankets and maybe everybody contributing a Happy Meal or a casserole!

Thank you, Kathy. As usual, you cut right to the chase.

I have a small quibble, though: When was our government EVER "truly representational"? Until a mere hundred years ago women, who represent more than half the population, could not even vote, let alone participate in government in any form. And black Americans couldn't for longer than that.

Even today, in our so-called enlightened times, women and minorities of either sex are vastly underrepresented in Congress and other political arenas. I'm happy a black President was elected, but still disappointed there has not been a Madame President.

Kerry, remember the "silent majority"? That's the big middle today, I think. The squeaky wheel always gets the grease, and the rest of us are shoved aside. I guess we all need to start squeaking, loudly!

Good points. I think this is another great step in our civil rights development - blacks, women, gays, the disappearing middle class - they are all The People who must demand fair representation.

When I despair that our democracy is dying, I remind myself how many times we have had to take to the streets to remind our elected officials who really has the Rights around here. The Constitution reserves the Rights to The People - and the elected tend to gloss over that in their quest for power.

I do wish the Founders had done more to establish true equality, and know that some of them really agonized about the concessions. So it became the job of the rest of us to see it through.

Free speech is precious and something many take for granted - exercise yours!

I love protests! I was a kid in the 60's, in Nebraska, where liberals HAD to band together to remind ourselves that we were not alone. I remember my big sister dragging me along to some kind of peace march on the university campus and thinking, "wow. This is fantastic." And being the only kid in 7th grade to wear a black armband at our farm school on Moratorium Day (not a big hit with the math teacher/football coach). I think I must resurrect that part of me. Often I revert to the Baby of the Family mindset that assumes someone must be in charge, and it's not supposed to be me. Obviously, it IS supposed to be me. And the rest of us.

Watch this entire clip; it's relevant more than ever.


You are so right, William. Shame Sorkin can only make up these characters, lol.

Good clip, William - thanks for sharing. I am going to add the word 'Serious' to my "Vote Sanity" pledge!

That speech is one of the reasons I watch that movie over and over again. The other, of course, is Andrew Shepherd's plan to go slow :)

Geez, things have turned around 180 degrees since 1995, haven't they? Wonder what Michael Douglas's father, Kirk, a huge proponent of the NRA, thought about that speech?

Speaking about protesting, etc., this clip reminds me of a girls' night out about 18 months ago. Three friends were all discussing what kind of guns they were going to get, to stave off the coming "takeover". I went home heartsick that night, to think how paranoid and fearful people, especially the most privileged, have become. My mother watches Fox News and gets all het up about things that have not happened, and will never happen, and I cannot convince her that she's getting upset and terrified for nothing.

One of the young women from our church participated with OccupyPhilly. She actually took charge of the children, and had provided activities and games to keep them busy. And she helped to organize the vote to accept the city's rules for demonstrating, thus allowing everything to stay peaceful.

Your law classes must be a whole lotta fun, Kathy.

And you're right.

The Occupy movement also is a harvest of creativity, whether it be the incredible range of signs, or the formation of quasi-governmental services in the "occupied zones" or online efforts like occupygeorge.com where you can find out how to "brand" dollar bills with things like "Future property of the 1%". There's still a small "Little Prince" in the cynical world of my mind that still believes these efforts will bear quality fruit to nourish the neglected.

But we're still up against those in the middle who still have jobs, no matter how lousy, health insurance, a home that isn't in foreclosure and still have the attitude of "I've got mine, screw you".

Wow, William, what a wake up call, great post Kathy. For a minute there, I thought your last paragraph was about John Boehner, Sarah Palin, et al. I do like pumpkins and corn and stuff, though.

Lil - that's the beauty of writing. I did too!

Genius blog today, Kathy.

The framers of our constitution had foresight to build flexibility into the structure of our federalist form of government and to incorporate the needed elements that would enable new insight to change old ways.

I support Occupy Tucson and harvest decorations.

Thank you, ma'am. You've reminded me to drive downtown and check it out.

Coincidentally, I got a Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue in the mail today - not that I've ever ordered anything from them. Anyway, they don't seem to be in austerity mode. There is a "Stock Car Racing Simulator" for $60,000, and the cover has a "Lean Mean Green Machine" motorcycle for $75,000.

I've not made it down to the main OccupyLA area to see what's going on there, but I was delighted to hear today that they've marched not just on city hall but also on the LAUSD offices. LAUSD represents power and greed and total disregard of the 99% in managing the resources of this giant 'school district.' I'm usually more-or-less supportive of the local school board . . . LAUSD, not so much.
Great clip, William. Maybe Sorkin should be writing speeches for our President . . . .

I'm proud of our country just now, not so much the Congress. And particularly not the biggest and baddest corporations.

Occupy Detroit came to town last week. Not a big group, but peaceful. I need to find out what I can do to support them.

It is so good to see people following through on the things they believe in.

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