After seeing Footloose, both the new and the old versions, I thought I could make a difference. I believed I could change laws and create a movement. For starters, I could prove a religious need to take away all dancing. Mostly just because I’m saving people from being subjected to my dancing.
OK, maybe dancing isn’t something I want to mess with. It has to do with freedom of movement and I don’t want to take that away from anyone. Besides, who would I laugh at when I see people even more rhythmically challenged than yours truly?
Dancing stays where it is.
As I spent time thinking for a better way to change the world, I walked the Jordan River Parkway. I remembered exactly where a few people I’d met over the summer lived. They resided in different places in the parkway; one old and one young. But they both lived in tents hidden in the bushes, trying to survive.
I wanted to learn what it was like for them and become a more understanding and open-minded person; if that’s possible for a spoiled suburban girl who’s never wanted for food, clothing or shelter. So I collected the warmest blankets I have, pepper spray, bug spray and a pillow. I didn’t have a tent or sleeping bag, but luckily it was still pre-winter time.
The hard mud and rocks weren’t the least bit comfortable and everywhere I looked there were mosquitoes ready to drain me alive. Drop after drop. About an hour or two later, well maybe it was 20 minutes, a shadow in the distant approached. I jumped out of my blanket and screamed in a high-pitched-horror-movie kind of way. It was only my neighbor, a young teen who had just turned 18. I apologized for freaking out and he took off back to his tent.
But there were only minutes left of my Occupy Taylorsville experience. Another encounter with noises and shadows and I was driving back to my apartment to see how many mosquitoes bites managed to penetrate my spray.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night in my apartment feeling hopeless and useless. I want to be heard, as everyone does.
My disastrous night gave me a new respect for those who can sacrifice things like a good nights sleep. Occupy Wall Street is a movement I highly respect and admire. I’m glad that they are standing up to the rich, who probably think rarely about people forced to sleep on the Jordan River Parkway.
I agree wholeheartedly the government needs to find a better way to represent all the people and not just the few or we’ll never move forward to a better existence. People won’t have equal opportunity in the workforce, government or anywhere in their lives.
For example, the sick and poor will continue to budget a few hundred dollars a month after rent and bills, while getting ridiculed because their illness forces them to rely on the government. The ones I’ve talked to don’t enjoy living off anyone, but they do want to live. In addition, the working poor will continue to work 80 hours a week in three jobs, and still have no benefits because their employers will work them an hour under what is required by law.
Who will speak for us? Who speaks for us now? A person who often doesn’t know us isn’t able to fully care. This soul may not have any idea what it’s like to live in poverty or to have their voice unheard.
I’m not saying there aren’t good representatives out there, I’ve met some of the best right here in Utah, people I wish represented my home city.
Maybe it’s time we appointed representatives who not only speak for the poor but who are the poor. But even the electoral process alone requires one who runs for office to have money or financial backers, which is hard to have if you don’t have a job.
Sometimes I feel being a liberal in Taylorsville is about as useless as going to the dentist when I have no money or insurance.
I will continue to vote and support fair-minded candidates, and congratulate Occupy Wall Street for their remarkable and brave efforts. After all, it’s possible their efforts will save me from living with bugs on a more permanent basis.