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Republicans and Democrats debate Occupy Iowa City

BY GUEST EDITORIAL | NOVEMBER 03, 2011 7:20 AM

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UDems: Occupy should join forces

Occupy Iowa City has become a notable feature of our community since it began weeks ago.

This inclusive group has drawn members from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences that exemplify their deep sense of democratic principles. Many members of the Democratic Party share the same principles as members of the Occupy Movement and would welcome them into our activities.

As Democrats, we also have a vested interest in ensuring that our democracy promotes inclusion, participation, and transparency. Additionally, we favor strong public education, environmental stewardship, and equal opportunity. However, we favor action through the existing political structures to bring about lasting social change.

Many of Occupy Iowa City's principles are admirable. Throughout our nation's history, major change has been accomplished through engaged citizens acting through governmental institutions. Our country has historically been good at rectifying injustices through political participation: The end of slavery, allowing women to vote, and the civil-rights movement all arose from people organizing on the ground, then acting with a like-minded party.

Working within a party and consulting with necessary decision-makers is the best policy to allow these changes to happen. Acting outside of government often marginalizes these important voices and allows officials to discount their opinions. This is an unfortunate consequence of not working within an existing party in a two-party state such as ours. As democratic organizers, we emphasize that an important aspect to effect change is building relationships.

The way to accomplish and create strong networks is through organizing: knocking on your neighbor's door, making phone calls, or participating in public forums. We would encourage members of Occupy to look to these techniques as well in order to broaden their appeal. As Democrats, we believe that it would be beneficial for them to join us in our existing structure to work toward these shared progressive ideals and electing people who represent us. Citizens need and deserve a strong voice that advocates for the issues that are vital to us all. These representatives and their collective party will have a much stronger voice and the ability to directly influence policy more than a group of citizens.

We empathize with the difficulty of bringing an unpopular voice to the table. An excellent example of this struggle was the efforts of many students in the nomination of Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination in 2008. Through strong organization and effective groundwork, we were able to turn a relatively unknown senator from Illinois into a competitive and valid presidential contender.

Occupy Iowa City does not need to follow this blueprint, but we feel that when combined, our voices would carry more weight. By combining the passion and spirit of Occupy Iowa City with our existing organizational strategy, together we can invigorate campaigns and increase democracy by electing and re-electing strong candidates.

The special election in District 18 for Democratic candidate Liz Mathis on Nov. 8, will be a crucial election for our state. The Democratic Party is working tirelessly to mobilize voters that share in Occupy's principles. We encourage dialogue between people of all political identities, but especially the Democratic Party and the Occupy movement, in order to build a bridge between our two groups. Through this, we can be victorious in this election and all monumental ones to come.

— University of Iowa Democrats

UI Republicans: Occupy 'is an embarrassment'

With great anticipation from the public, Occupy Iowa City finally released its statement of principles. Now, over two weeks after the occupation began, we all can understand the purpose of camping out in College Green … Actually, no. We still don't understand.

This newspaper has given these misguided inhabitants searching for a cause, these leftist Iowa City residents who drop everything for a protest, and these adolescents craving a form of community acceptance more positive attention than warranted.

This city has distorted the laws of a civilized society for the latest liberal cause. Disrupting a city property, a tax-funded park, to protest "Wall Street" 1,000 miles away is irrational. Placing a solar panel in the park for wireless Internet to decry capitalism is ironic. Calling themselves the 99 percent is insulting to the vast majority of Earth's citizens.

Occupy Wall Street is not a growing movement. Calling it a movement would be an insult to the great justice and civil-rights movements over the last century. Occupy Wall Street is the 2-year-old throwing a fit in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart — an embarrassment we can only hope ends soon. American history books will not publish this publicity stunt any sooner than they will document the historical implications of "Jersey Shore."

A protest without a plan is pointless, yet the occupiers embrace the disorganization.

"It's not our purpose to articulate specific demands or needs, solutions to the problem; rather to highlight that there is a problem,"said Jared Krauss, a member of the Occupy Iowa City peacekeeping committee.

Complaining for the sake of complaining is the definition of immature and childish. No reasonable individual views the Occupy embarrassment as anything more than a waste of time.

If anything, the Occupy embarrassment resembles a communist agenda.

The Occupy crowd states, "We believe in the equitable and just distribution of all resources, opportunity, and wealth."

America is the greatest country in the world simply because as a nation we unify against that statement. Americans pride themselves on the fact their country can allow them to fulfill their wildest dream if they work hard enough.

Surprisingly on Oct. 28, 20/20 with Barbara Walters did a special on self-made billionaires. These four amazing people found different ways to provide a good to Americans and went from homeless to the 1 percent. Self-made billionaire John Paul DeJoria said it best, "Success unshared is failure." These billionaires work every day to improve the lives of American citizens, and they shouldn't be reprimanded for being successful. Their money used in philanthropies is much better spent than the bureaucratic mess of our Treasury department.

Please keep in mind that it's not just billionaires that make up the 1 percent. If your income in 2010 was a penny over $516,633, you are lumped in the billionaire generalization. To put this in perspective, at an annual compensation of $3.65 million, our loveable coach Kirk Ferentz makes more than five times the minimum to be constituted in the top 1 percent. Before Occupy Iowa City demands the government to forcefully take other's wealth and spread it around, perhaps they should contemplate Iowa City's prioritization of selling football tickets before feeding the hungry and homeless.

While these anti-corporate "feel good" majors with $50,000 student loans whine on their solar-powered Macbooks (created by Steve Jobs) about their hate for billionaire CEOs (Steve Jobs), the rest of us go to work and produce for the good of society and the economy. If the Occupiers truly want to live in a fair society, why don't they complain about the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income taxes instead of decrying the top 1 percent that foots nearly 40 percent of the total federal tax burden?

The University of Iowa College Republicans does not, in any way, support the Occupy movement, and we find deep solace in the fact that these campouts will be over soon.

In the famous words of Bing Crosby, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

— University of Iowa College Republicans


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