Independents in Utah as well as locally are an increasing force to be reckoned with. It has been said that independents are really partisans deep down masquerading covertly as infiltrators or just apathetic and undecided. We know that is not true. We certainly are not infiltrators. We are not partisans, and we are not undecided. We are decided, and we have decided to be independent!
Not to be confused with the party of no, the first bloc of Utah voters to amass 1 million voters will be the unaffiliated or as we prefer independent voters--no party or party of no thanks. On May 31 the independent voter total was 987,244. Today, October 21, 2011 the total is 998,069. Harold Camping may be predicting that the end of the world is today, but Microsoft Excel is telling me that independents will officially reach the 1 million mark at 8:22 am on December 13, 2011.
Independent voter growth was roughly twice that of republican voters during the period.
People have been scoffing and eyeing the growing Occupy Wall Street movement with suspicion. The FBI has even jumped into the fray calling the movement a "Left Wing Extremist Group" which is utterly ludicrous considering who it is that carries guns and sprays unarmed ladies with pepper mace. I hadn't looked at Occupy Wall Street that closely until I re-listened to a radio interview on the KSLNightside Project with Ryan Cain, an Occupy Wall Street SLC movement organizer.
For an interesting start, check out these excerpts of reactionary table talk lifted from a Facebook thread today: ...and exactly who is organizing all these people without telling them why they're protesting so they all have their own version of why they're protesting something they aren't sure about. I bet they're probably being paid to be there (by unions most likely) in the first place. Progressives implement government policy that would obviously collapse the system and then blame free-market capitalism and tell their supporters to get arrested over it.
More to the point, many of them are union workers, so they support big money in lobbying government. I'm surprised they are out there themselves and not just having the union bosses and lawyers take Wall Street to court.
I find it satisfyingly ironic that the arch-entrepreneur Steve Jobs, one of the most successful corporatists and capitalists of this generation, sloughed off his mortal coil just as anti-corporatist and anti-capitalist radicals were trying to shut down Wall Street, blithley using their iPads and iPhones to coordinate their protests, while listening to Radiohead on their iPods. But these superstitious reactions aren't limited just to conservatives. Earlier this year during the height of the Arab Spring and the subsequent embarrassment to the United States for arming and supporting Egypt's Mubarak, the State Department headed by one Hillary Clinton realized the relationships we had were those in dictator Mubarak's regime. And in a classic duopolistic moment, Clinton indicated she thought free and fair elections were being held too soon. After all Egypt had not yet had time to "form political parties" as if parties are relevant to free and fair elections.
And on and on. But as I mentioned at the beginning, KSLNightside interviewed Occupy Wall Street SLC organizer Ryan Cain on Wednesday. Below is a partial transcript. Needless to say, I don't see anything backing up the conservative conspiracy theory that this is a Western socialist caliphate.
AK: What do you want to accomplish with the movement as a whole? And what do you want to accomplish tomorrow?
RC: Well, first of all there is a lot of misconceptions going on about what's going on and a lot of that can be attributed to outside groups that are trying to come in and steer it in the direction they want. One thing we want to address is this is definitely not a liberal answer to the tea party movement. That's not what it is. It is about everybody regardless of their political leanings or religious affiliations. We are all affected the same by the financial structure and the conflict of interest between the government and the corporations and I feel it is something we can all identify with whether you are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling on that mortgage payment or maybe your a little bit more better off or comfortable still your quality of life is diminishing and it's going away and I think everybody can see that.
Ethan Millard: So do you have a platform at this point, I mean with articulated points, grievances that you want addressed?
RC: That is something that we are all working on as a whole. Our primary focus is getting everybody on that common ground. One thing we would like to accomplish is get into discussion how legislature and laws work that allow these certain institutions to operate the way they do. Because, I mean the government is formed as far as having the people’s interests in mind, and we feel it has gone away from that and more how these corporation’s interests are in mind whether it is TARP funds, bailouts, quantitative easing We as a people are taking burden and getting none of the benefits. ...
AK: We are the 99, what is that? When people see that they say ok, for example I read one today 'Hey I’m in school I can barely pay my student loans. My particular field doesn't even have jobs. There is no way I will even get a job when I graduate. I'm the 99.' Then on the flip side, the criticism that it's getting is for example today, one of the critics of this was one of the presidential candidates he said 'look you've go to go out and get a job' the reason you are in the 99 or whatever.' He's saying this is a bash on capitalism. He's saying this is your fault.
RC: This isn't about capitalism at all. It's about how the capitalism in place right now is working. If it was just capitalism in its purest form, it wouldn't be so much as an issue. It's how it's being perverted. It's turned into a socialist movement for those who are in the elite top few--and that's the top 1%
EM: That's interesting, because a lot of people, primarily from the right are saying you guys are socialists, you guys are communists, and you just want free money. But you are saying that the system that the system has become a socialist system for the rich.
RC: Well exactly, I mean if you have a local small business that is struggling and they have to go out of business, they go out of business; whereas if a bank and these corporations that have a lot of responsibility and accountability that they are not letting themselves be accountable for. If they are bailed out, that is welfare for them. It's not capitalism anymore. It is socialism for those on the top.
EM: That is interesting because that exact argument that you articulated is what got Senator Bennett kicked out of office. He supported the bailout for those banks.
RC: Right and a lot of people have adverse reactions to that obviously. The way the fed operates is loaning money as a bank to our fed government who is giving it out again at interest.
EM: It occurs to me that you guys might have common ground; you said you are not a left answer to the tea party, but it occurs to me possibly you might have some common ground with the tea party.
RC: Anybody can identify with this I’m sure. If you just doing a little bit of digging your own research you can see how things operate.
EM: You just articulated 2 arguments, one about the bailout and one about the Federal Reserve that I hear from tea partiers all day long.
RC: Right, well the tea party has been infiltrated for lack of a better word, by those with their own motives. I mean the way it started out regardless of your feelings toward it, or whether or not you agree with it, I personally sympathize with them on certain things and other things I don't. The establishment as a whole has taken that over and turned it into it's own thing.
EM: Alright welcome back this is Nightside. We've got Ryan Cain in studio. He's one of the organizers of Occupy SLC; part of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement spreading across the nation. A lot of people texted this in and I kind of share this view point. I'm just going to clear the air with it. You can take this as not only a criticism but also some advice. And that is a lot of people including me are intensely annoyed there isn't a platform. All these people are coming together. Everybody is just waiting. There is a larger economic picture.
AK: everybody is ticked off guys are getting bailout money, look at the bonuses these guys are getting. Oh, we are mad, you aren't mad about it?
RC: the biggest message to take from this is to restore power to the American people. We have lost our power throughout the years in a sense. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney mentioned it is our fault. In a sense it is.
EM: Herman Cain actually said that. AK: let me ask you this Ryan while you are here. You say that what you want to see happen is to have power restored back to the American people. That's not going to feel very tangible, that kind of a goal. What do you want to see happen tomorrow?
RC: As far as tomorrow I mean we want a lot of awareness. We want people asking questions so we clear up these answers. This is a collaborative effort. There's no one leader. There are a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life that all have interests in these. For example we had the police department there asking questions how we operate and they've all been very supportive actually of the movement.
AK: Once you get to pioneer park, how long are you going to stay there?
RC: Indefinitely, our goal is just baby victories, small victories to continue to progress the movement. Whether or not we are actually in Pioneer Park, I believe this movement will continue to go. It is about changing the mindset. It is not about these silly wedge issues that we have between us. It is about finding one common goal that benefits everybody mutually.
The redistricting commission final recommendation is to split Syracuse across 4 House of Representative seats. http://www.redistrictutah.com/maps/hb3001 If you do not speak out substantially against this, you really should change your title of representative to something else. A fair redistricting process or outcome would not change the partisan makeup of the legislature. The only thing republicans can gain by gerrymandering in this fashion is to relinquish their integrity that is already in question.
The recommended state senate map is far from fair or perfect. But at least they had the good sense not to provoke any more organization of opposition in Syracuse.
I am serious Mr. Wilson. If you do not make a public statement in opposition to this and if you go ahead and vote to adopt it, I will call publicly for your resignation and investigate what must be done to initiate a recall. You simply cannot call yourself a representative if you do not take up this banner for your constituents. Your duty is to represent them, not your party.
This whole affair speaks to the veracity of George Washington's farewell address that dividing up into factions and parties and striving with words and suspicions one neighbor and community against another would unravel our beloved republic. Indeed it seems to be so. Make your mark on history and do right by your district. You will not have to live with the regret of having gone along with the crowd.
Sincerely, Randy Miller, President Utah League of independent Voters Syracuse, Utah