Thursday, November 5, 2015


Thanks to the movie V For Vendetta, The Fifth of November is no longer just a bonfire day in England.  It is a day for social protest and action, and the "Million Mask March".

To quote the character V:  
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

They don't fear masses of us in the street, we've seen that they just send in the teargas and rubber bullets.  I'm not saying we should stop protesting in public. But we need more action, and we need effective day to day actions on a wide scale, that we can maintain for years.  In fact, we need to make political action part of our day to day lives.

You know: brush teeth, wash face, call the Mayor's office...

We have to disrupt the ordinary, day to day lives of people in power, in annoying legal ways. Calling them constantly while they are at work, showing up at their meetings and in their courtrooms and watching what they are doing.  Asking them well-informed questions and demanding answers.

Make a pledge today to make 5 significant actions for social change each month for 11 months in the next year.  (Give yourself a one month break.)  If enough people did this, we could have a literal "armchair revolution". 

Here are some suggestions:

If you aren't registered to vote, register.  Voting is less important than being than being a registered voter.

Voting is less important than calling or writing your elected officials on a regular basis about the things that are important to you. 

There are approximately 220 million people eligible to vote, and only 150 million are registered.  Of registered voters, only about half of those 150 million actually vote in Presidential elections!  As was demonstrated in 2000, the popular vote does not elect the President.  The electoral college does.

And the people that make the most difference in your day to day life are your local leaders.  Voter turn out in local elections is often less than 20%.

It is a lot easier to change things from the bottom up, than vice versa.  

More important than voting for political leaders is the who is in the judicial system.  Learn about the judges on the ballot in your next local election. 

Join the nationwide Fight for $15 an hour minimum wage.  Do the research.  It will not be the end of small businesses.  It will not be the end of corporate jobs.  The minimum wage hasn't raised with inflation since 1970.  What has risen is corporate profits, executive salaries and bonuses, and credit card debt.

And we need to raise the "exempt" wage.  Right now employers in Missouri can require an exempt employee to be available 168 hours a week (that's the entire week) for $455 per week, if the exempt employee supervises 2 or more employees for 80 or more hours per week.

For example, if you are the live in administrator at a small residential care facility or half way house that is "24 hour awake" care.  The state requires that of those 80 hours, 42 are required 6 hours a night for the administrator to sleep.  The other 38 hours will generally be support during the day with cleaning, cooking and medication paperwork.  If the exempt employee takes a full day off, half the weekly pay can be legally deducted.  $455 a week is not even minimum wage for 168 hours worth of work.

Learn how your local government is spending tax money.  Are the same contractors used again and again?  Is there nepotism and "legacy" hiring in your local government offices and agencies?

Signing on line petitions and then sharing on social media is a good way to get dialogue started, and to show visible support for the issues that matter to you.

You have the power to change the world.  Make the pledge: 5 for 11.

Happy V Day!  #5NOV

OPTINSTL will be back on blogging and taking it to the streets about public transportation in St. Louis toward the end of the year.  Absence on social media does not mean absence from the issues!

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