The Occupation and the Congressman
By Mark David Blum, Esq.

I cornered a Congressman. It took me almost fifty years to get face time with my Congressperson. But I got that face time this past Sunday. I had him backed literally in the corner at a social event at which we were both present. I had to either side of me women watching and listening to me. It was great. The Congressman I had cornered is no longer my congressman. He wants to be again, but is ummm between gigs as Congressman.

I would not have had the opportunity to trap the Congressman had I not stood up for the Occupation Movement. It was my participation in and representation of the Occupation here in Syracuse that for the first time, I trapped my former and wants to be again Congressman. I was kind. I was respectful. I was a perfect gentelman.

This is the power of the Occupation.

I got to toy with my prey and tell him my favorite example of government dysfunction. Speaker Pelosi, at the time when the Democrats had the government, got a rule passed by the House, to get rid of Styrofoam coffee cups from the House cafeteria. Whatever. When Speaker Boehner took the gavel, he put forth a rule which would return Styrofoam coffee cups to the House cafeteria. Whatever. There was a vote. Styrofoam cups were returned to the House cafeteria. The tally for the vote went straight down party lines. This told me my government is almost completely broken beyond serious repair. The Congressfolks couldn't even decide that petty issue based on their conscience. Their votes were a pure rock solid demonstration of what the party wants versus what their conscience dictates. What are the odds of each member truly voting how they morally felt about the issue (that is why we elect them) and that result being a 100% match to their party affiliation? Those odds have to be off the charts.

During the telling of my story, I realized that this gentleman was in Washington during this battle royale. He knew exactly what I was talking about and remembered the event well. But then he said the magic words, “it was more complicated than that.” That’s when my eyes sailed up into my forehead. I could hear the sweet melodies of flushing toilets with millions swirling around down the bowl. How many tax dollars were incurred in spent time and expenditures of resources of so many people and the very record of our history itself was devoted to this coffee cup question? Really, in dollars and sense, what … a couple million when finally printed as the formal record. If you want to talk about waste, clean your own House first.

His defense was simple: There was apparently a big push / pull in opposite directions going on by the parties on the whole area of environmental issues. Republicans opposed every positive environment issue that came up and Democrats supported it. Straight down party lines went vote after vote. The coffee cups to them, was just another one of their battles. It is like watching my parents argue with my grandparents over who cheated at pinochle.

When I was done wit him, I guided the kind and patient man into a conversation on saving the earth and hydrofracking with a young lady standing at my side. Me, I just walked off slowly shaking my head.

Thank you to the Occupy Syracuse folks. I have seen the power of combing my voice with that of hundreds of thousands of others telling those in Washington and Wall Street that we really need to be reconsidering how we are doing business; from top to bottom. We are the counterbalance to the swarms of lobbyists. If not for Scoot, I would have not have had the chance to speak with the candidate. If he prevails in his campaign, I guarantee you that he will remember my voice in his ear. The message got through. I saw it in his eyes.

He obviously knows where to find me if he would like to discuss any issue regarding the Occupation. I do respect the man.

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