Tuesday, November 1, 2011

God Bless Rachel Unterman

This letter appeared in last Sunday's Chicago Tribune.

For those of you slumped in front of yet-another episode of 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', it crystalizes why the Occupy Wall Street protests are so vital.

This movement represents ninety-nine percent of us, yet I have never heard such widespread criticism. Such petty whining. So many sideline editorialists opining about what the movement should be doing.

These protests are years overdue. We absolutely need to clog the streets of every city in the United States. We absolutely need to kick and scream and fight and yell until the vermin entrusted to represent us actually begins to do so.

And they won't without a hard shove from the electorate, which is us. You and me.

Rachel says it far-better than I.

"I occupy because corporations are not people, and money is not the same thing as free speech.

I occupy because I believe in united citizens, not Citizens United.

I occupy because our military is spending billions of dollars to occupy foreign countries while jobs, infrastructure and the economy suffer at home.

I occupy because my generation should have opposed these wars in greater numbers and with greater outrage to start with.

I occupy because I am tired of going to the polls and trying to decide which politician is least likely to attempt to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder.

I occupy because I am tired of seeing executives of failed companies receiving bonuses while their employees are laid off without severance.

I occupy because I believe in the First Amendment and the civil liberties it grants us.

I occupy because the system is not broken but relies on this kind of active participation to remain strong.

I occupy because it is exciting to see democracy working.

I occupy because after seven years combined of undergraduate and graduate studies, I have student loan debt but not the gainful employment necessary to pay it down.

I occupy because I have been underemployed since finishing school, often working two or three part-time jobs to try to make ends meet.

I occupy because I have spent half of this year unemployed altogether, through no fault of my own. I occupy because the unemployed cannot afford to be invisible statistics any longer.

I occupy because the alternative is sitting in my parents' basement writing cover letters that won't even be rejected, just ignored.

I occupy because if it weren't for the safety net my parents have provided, I would be sitting on a street corner all day asking for a different kind of change.

I occupy because my dreams have been deferred, and it was only a matter of time before they would explode."

Rachel Unterman
Chicago, Illinois


  1. Nice article by George Monbiot in the Grauniad, touching on some of these points:


  2. Thanks for the link, OP. Couldn't even finish the piece--thought I was going to puke.

    Long live Occupy.

    It has to prevail. It just has to...

  3. I recently did a Google search of my name, which I don't do very often, and found this blog response to my letter in the Chicago Tribune last October, along with a response to one of the many negative letters that followed over the next 2 weeks.

    Thank you for your kind words about my letter. I'm still very active in Occupy Chicago for all of the reasons I laid out. Just wanted to let you know I had seen it (albeit belatedly) and appreciate the support.

  4. Great to hear from you!

    One one hand, I wish you didn't need to be involved with Occupy; that things had changed.

    On the other, the continued ignorance of Americans is staggering. There are miles yet to travel.



  5. The Occupy movement is still in its infancy. The kind of change we seek won't come overnight, but we're making good progress considering it's been less than a year.

    Hope to see you out in the streets this summer. =)