I read Paul King’s letter, “Dear Occupy Asheville,” in the Dec. 28 Xpress, and I felt the need to respond. I’m not as an “occupier” myself, though if I were I'd wear the name proudly — but I am a citizen who has tried to keep up with the movement locally and nationally.
From what I understand of the Occupy movement, these folks are resorting to measures outside of those that King suggests in his letter in order to shine a light on all that is broken in our current political and financial systems (both of which seem to have become inextricably and sinisterly entangled in one another). As it says in Occupy Wall Street’s initial declaration, which I'd advise Mr. King and others who don't fully understand the movement to read: "We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments." ("Declaration of the Occupation of New York," posted Sept. 30, 2011, on occupywallst.org).
I understand completely why they've taken to the streets, why they won't contact their representatives or volunteer or watch TV or do any of the other 10 activities that you recommend. We've got a broken system and it needs fixing. The first step in fixing something that's broken is admitting that it’s broken, a step that takes courage. And it was Einstein who said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
Robert Thurman, professor at Columbia and a leading Buddhist scholar, calls the Occupiers "cool heroes … people who are forceful, intelligent, just and insightful, who can speak up loudly and clearly, but without getting angry or indulging in hatred." Hear hear!
I extend my deepest appreciation to those who've take it upon themselves to represent the 99 percent, to just say no to the 1 percent, and to subject themselves to all the challenges they've had to face, from public scrutiny to inclement weather to nowhere to pee. Applause for you all.
— Virginia Bower