ENCINITAS – “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
That was just one of the many slogans shouted by a crowd of people lining Encinitas Boulevard and Coast Highway 101, Saturday afternoon.
Car horns along the busy intersection were honking in support of the more than 300 sign-yielding, chanting demonstrators participating in the “Occupy” protests, a movement that has seemingly reached its boiling point against corporate greed, and is resonating with people worldwide.
Oceanside resident Brad Kelly joined the protestors after learning about it online. “It seems like the voting option is going to be dumb and dumber in 2012. We have to put democracy in action in order to get results,” he said.
Frustration and anger were the majority of feelings expressed by people in the crowd, which appeared to range from 30-to 50-year olds, but some like 71-year-old Pati Hooper came from Oceanside to lend her support to the “occupy” phenomenon that is occurring in cities around the world. “And I’m glad I came,” Hooper said. Most of her frustrations, she said, stem from the high taxes.
Her friend Nanette DiGiovanni said she had been saving all her life. “I was told if you work hard and you save all your money, you put it in your 401k,” she said. “Now, the government has taken away my 401k, so I’m very angry because I have no golden years. And I also have no job. After years, I was kicked to the curb because my insurance premiums were too high, and now I’m unemployed with no health insurance, when I need it the most.”
25-year-old Kerry Chestnutt said of the event: “It’s spectacular that people are gathering all over the world for this cause. It obviously serves as testament that (this is) a legitimate cause, and that people are animated and passionate about it, and hopefully it will bring about some change,” she said.
Chestnutt said she would like to see the end of corporate greed and its influence on the political system. “It’s not working for us as a nation, and it’s not working around the world apparently, either. So, I don’t know what the solution is going to be, but hopefully we’re calling attention to the problem. And I think that’s a great step,” she added.
Dave Peiser, an Encinitas resident, is a member of the group Contract for the American Dream, which helped to organize the massing. The group is part of the American Dream Movement led by Van Jones, author of “The Green-Collar Economy,” and who has served as the green jobs advisor to President Obama.
The contract lists 10 steps to help get the economy back on track.
“The American ‘dream,’ I think, is just to make a good living,” said group member Adam Mcroy. “I think the American ‘dream’ has been hijacked for this idea of being one of the one percent, being rich, and I think it’s about making it in the world and being successful, having an opportunity.”
“I think what’s happened here, is everybody around the country feels the same way and really can connect with that idea of being part of the 99 percenters,” Peiser said.
While the demonstrators didn’t have one uniting message, Peiser said that one of the messages getting out was that the government should be serving the people before the corporations.
“The economy should be here to serve us, not we serve the economy,” Mcroy added. “But it’s hard to get behind one thing; there’s many things,” he said.
The end of today’s event doesn’t signify the end of the demonstrations either, Mcroy explained. “I hope we can inspire more events, and more people to look at what we are promoting, and getting politicians to listen to us,” he said.