Puppets dangling from strings of gold | TheUnion.com

Puppets dangling from strings of gold

Other Voices
Thomas Streicher

While most people have been pushed over the fiscal cliff, a chosen few remain safely suspended in the air.

Like puppets dangling from strings of gold, these people are held aloft by the rich elites who care only to reinforce the status quo while they fill their pocketbooks.

Most politicians — from the president on down — are puppets of the rich, manipulated by the "big money" of major corporations. These official puppets serve their masters by attacking and ridiculing those who threaten the ruling class.

The press, of course, is mostly interested in reporting "news" from people and organizations with a strong desire to maintain the status quo. For those who are awake enough to see beyond the propaganda, this strategy is on full display.

I say that now is the time to return the human rights that have been wrenched from us, along with our community buildings and services.

Are you a puppet for the rich? If not, isn't it time to cut the strings, cut the bull and cut to the chase?

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There is no end in sight. The wars are still going on, and the poor continue to be oppressed. To find evidence of this, just venture on to any city street and hear the moans and groans of the local homeless people; many of those who beg for your help may not survive the night.

If you think homeless shelters are the answer, think again: The majority of homeless people are lucky to find a single night's vacancy, if they find one at all. And where are they to go during the daytime? The official puppets of the rich continue to criminalize homelessness through new regulations such as anti-loitering and anti-camping laws.

On the micro level, my town of Nevada City is a good example of oppression in action. Nevada City is a quaint little town nestled in the Sierra foothills of Northern California, where stately trees, scenic rivers and natural outcroppings abound.

Like many other people, I was initially drawn to this community because of its connection to nature. Unfortunately, that natural beauty was tarnished by the oppression that began when newly-arrived Gold Rush settlers killed or displaced most of the original, Native American inhabitants of this region.

The privileged white people took over and built the downtown area, where all the specialty shops are today. Many of Nevada City's proud business and property owners are unaware of the town's tainted past, an atrocity that has never been redressed.

But history has a tendency to repeat itself, and such is the case in Nevada City. The oppression of the original Native American population is now being reflected in the oppression of poor, needy and homeless people.

Homelessness has been criminalized here via new local laws and ordinances. Now it appears that the Nevada City Council, city manager, and police chief have joined forces with the majority of business owners to run the unwanted out of town once again, for fear of losing precious revenues. Does this sound familiar? When will this folly end?

I say that now is the time to return the human rights that have been wrenched from us, along with our community buildings and services. Our community buildings must once again serve their original purposes — namely, to provide community services, such as a meal program for the hungry, a place to rest for the weary, and a safe haven for people to just be themselves.

Thomas Streicher, Ph.D., lives in Nevada City.

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