by Philip A. Farruggio
October 4, 2011
It was a most beautiful Sunday morning that just passed, as Florida’s stifling heat was toned down a bit by Mother Nature. I took my usual fast walk, choosing our town’s city center, with its large pond and lots of shade trees. When I arrived, I realized that it was time once more for another ‘Family Days ‘weekend in Port Orange. The entire city center was transformed into a carnival, replete with rides, food vendors, craft vendors and non profits hawking whatever. It was but 10 AM on a Sunday and the place was packed! It was a burden to just walk, even if choosing the outer path around the center. I could not believe how many people from our town of 60,000 were out there! Lots of strollers and couples of all ages seemed to gravitate to this latest community circus as I call it. Before you get down on me for being a humbug…
For seven years a small group of us has stood, week in and week out, on a street corner in this town. We went out to protest the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and all that came with that act. We were, in essence, protesting the tremendous grasp of what Eisenhower warned us about over 50 years ago. Ike named it the ‘Military Industrial Complex ‘and, despite the cold warrior that he was, foretold what we now are seeing as reality: An empire run by war related industries! For seven years our small group stood (and still does) with signs asking others to come and join with us. After all, it is only one hour a week that someone needs to lend for real change. Yet, few if any at all would stop and join us. At the same city center where the latest circus took place this weekend, there is a wonderful library. At this library stand two of us each and every Tuesday. You see, I decided to move the street corner protest to an area where folks could get close to our signs and to us. We, 83 year old John and I, engage those who wish, in discussion about our signs and what we want done in America. Much express agreement with our protest and our ideas, but so far no one will join us.
Many of the same faces that John and I gaze at each Tuesday outside the library I recognized this past Sunday at the city center. Young parents with equally young children who, along with the rest of us, must be adversely affected by our economy. Translated: the phony wars and illegal occupations, with the bloated and runaway military spending, are bankrupting us! Yet, it seems more important to grab another cotton candy than to grab a sign and fulfill one’s civic duty to speak out in peaceful dissent. I wish they would hand out copies of the Bill of Rights at the next circus we hold here, along with the leaflets hawking foreclosed homes at great discounts. Of course, at these events, if you read the car ribbons and bumper stickers in the parking lots, one sees lots of efforts to Support our troops etc. Well, John made up a sign that expounds upon that ideal: HONOR OUR TROOPS- BRING THEM HOME NOW!
Finally, I am happy to see the Occupy Wall Street movement take off. I have two sincere wishes for this movement, however. Firstly, I would like to see those who join in anti corporate greed grassroots dissent to bundle in the anti empire sentiments expressed in this column. After all, these evils are all part of the same weed that is destroying our ‘planting field for democracy ‘. Secondly, and most important, the activists who protest should never allow themselves to be co-opted by the Democratic Party. After all, it is the Democrats, along with their pro empire Republican and Tea Party neighbors, who have enabled this corporate greed to fester and grow. Until the good American citizens out there reject completely all three of the ‘usual suspects ‘, change cannot come to our political system.
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is a small businessman, activist leader and free lance columnist. Philip is an advocate for the 25% Solution to cut military spending to save our state and city budget shortfalls. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at the fine Dandelion Salad website. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.