Occupy Wall Street: A Conservative’s Experience Generates a New Crusade

by on September 29th, 2010
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On a recent trip to New York for the ING Marathon, my family and I made a post-marathon pilgrimage to Zuccotti Park, to join in solitary with the oppressed. No, I haven’t completely lost it, or gone over to the dark side … get real! Being an open-minded conservative, it was my hope that I could convince the ‘occupiers’ to refocus their protest to raise awareness or real problems: to demand action from the evil corporations that should be paying higher dividends and, on the other side, against the high level of capital gains taxes imposed by the government. Wow, ever try to carry out intelligent conversations with glassy-eyed people occupying a seat somewhere out on cloud nine? I get a better response and a higher level of comprehension teaching Quantum Physics to my 9-month old puppy. I probably should have known, as even their math doesn’t make any sense … on a good day they are about 100 strong out of the 8.2 million people that occupy New York City … I make that about 0.0012% that they actually represent, not the 99% they lay claim to. I think what they really mean is that their constituency includes 99% of all the inmates released from Rikers Island since they started their movement. Anyhow, we de-occupied from the toxic waste site for the rest of the trip, not knowing that the destiny of my future crusade was already embedded in the megapixels of my camera.

It is the photo on the right that has become the crux of a new campaign; it was originally intended to be sent as a personalized photo-stamp for our Christmas letter to our liberal friends. In an unprecedented repudiation of First Amendment rights of free speech, two companies, obviously in concert with and fully supported by the USPS, rejected my stamp … “due to a conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines.” Utter censorship, driven no doubt by a right wing political agenda backed by Wall Street banks. What, I ask you, could possibly be objectionable? The flag? … certainly not as the USPS has flag stamps. There is nothing lewd or obscene, and the word ‘occupy’ certainly can’t be objectionable. We all occupy … we occupy space, we occupy an infinitesimal period of history in time on this earth, and we even have an incompetent that “occupies” the White House (hopefully not much longer). We experience this ‘condition’ every day … ever try to go to a bathroom on an airplane? … I’ll bet that 99% of the time it’s “occupied”, so what’s the problem?

In short, this is discrimination and censorship of the worst form and it must not be tolerated. So, being without the demands of an ‘occupation’ (i.e., not working, just like Obama) my post-occupation experience in New York has led me to be seriously pre-occupied with a new and noble crusade … to preserve our indivisible First Amendment rights. I have now commenced an all-out mission for restitution, to punish the censors and protect all of our rights of ‘free speech’ and the exercise of patriotic activism. I have already sought the assistance of those that I know will be sympathetic and supportive to seeing that egregious action I have experienced is prevented in the future. This includes the following agencies, influential legislators and public policy makers:

Susan N. Herman, President of the National ACLU. [The hope is they will support a legal suit as they recently won a victory over censorship of Postcards with the USPS, prompting the NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman to state “Censorship based on content has a devastating effect on free expression that is at the heart of a free society”.]

Charles Ellis Schumer, United States Senator from New York. [A questionable contact, like any politician … he recently said “The right to protest has always been a part of American political tradition and should be protected, but protestors should make sure they don’t get in the way of every day New Yorkers …” Sounds to me like “I voted for it before I voted against it”.]

Charles Bernard Rangel, New York’s 15th District Congressional Representative. [An obvious asset to the cause who recently proclaimed “I was glad to visit Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) on Saturday to lend my support…..to stand with the people on Wall Street to help occupy America. Together, we can take back our country”]

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States. [A questionable ally as it’s not clear that he will be in his office long enough to help.]

Abraham Michael Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times. [Who has more to lose if censorship prevails and our free speech rights are eroded?]

Michael Francis Moore, acclaimed filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. [Clearly there is no stronger supporter of the occupy movement and free speech.]

These people have really been contacted, and while it’s far too soon to have a response from them yet, I have great confidence they will offer encouragement and support. In fact, I am so sure of this that I can even project the nature of their responses:

From the National ACLU:

“… We are dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression and find it offensive when private individuals, companies or government try to impose censorship as a way of furthering their personal political views … censorship by the Government is unconstitutional. We are as shocked as you have been over this overt act of censorship, but given our previous experience with the USPS in the Jean-Claude Baker case it is not unexpected. We will be glad to offer legal assistance provided you can support the cost of litigation with a contribution in an amount no less than —— and …” (Six figures, thank you very much!)

From Senator Chuck Schumer:

” … fully endorse your concern as I, above all, know how important free speech can be to one’s being. I find your case especially troubling in that it also limits the ability to show the great New York City in it’s true light, as the home of the disgruntled patriot. I will actively support your cause and believe the only true remedy is to make the USPS adopt your image as a new “forever” stamp to be used by one and all. I will take action to achieve this just as soon as I can find a television camera …”

From Rep. Charlie Rangel:

” … and as your servant I will be delighted to commence a Congressional inquiry into this abuse. I lived through the Civil Rights movement, I have experienced untold abuse by intrusive government agencies like the IRS, and even censure, so I know how important it is to protect your rights… until we are successful in our action you can always forward your un-posted letters to me at my Punta Cana Yacht Club villa where I can put any kind of stamp on them you want and have them mailed out from the Dominican Republic for you. Oh yes, my campaign office is accepting contributions at … and as this may take a while and I will need to be reelected it would be helpful if you would …”

From the Attorney General’s Office:

“… your letter had been directed to me by an employee which must remain unnamed in accordance with the Department’s policy on protecting full and plausible deniability … if you need to have any further communications directed to said office please reply to the codename EH1. I am please to inform you we are treating the issue you raised with the utmost seriousness and I have been instructed to commence an undercover operation called “Fast and Frivolous” to track and establish a pattern of censorship behavior by the named companies …”

From the Editor of the New York Times:

“… of course they couldn’t treat us that way. We are the cornerstone of free speech and we print images like yours for the masses every day…lots of them…” “Perhaps a better and more insightful solution for you is not to sue the companies or the USPS, but rather to redirect the funds that would require and send subscriptions for the Times to all your friends … think how that gift of uncensored, unbiased objectivity would keep on giving …”

From Michael Moore:

“… why those ******** ***** ***** ********* ing evil *******… I’ll show them where to ****** their ******* *********** ********* policies and drive them to their knees where I’ll ****** ******** their ******* before I make them roll over and ****** ******* …” [Editorial note: Guess I may have to modify my views on censorship.]

Just imagine how big this movement may become. This is only the start!! If additional resources are needed to bring about fundamental change and justice, there are certainly others that will help drive the cause forward …. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, CNN and, as a last resort Oprah, just to name a few. I hope this causes you to take note … to become concerned about threats to your fundamental rights! Let me encourage you to get involved and join the movement.

[Please Note: In case any of our friends had any doubts, my wife wants me to make it absolutely clear that she took the censored picture, and that she is not standing in it with me!]

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