Activists lined both sides of state Route 73 in Keene Valley Sunday to protest corporate greed and income inequality. Chris Morris was there and has this report.
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Bob Andrews of Keene Valley says he was inspired by the message he witnessed when he visited the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City’s Zuccotti Park several weeks ago.
“Our democracy has been subverted by the very wealthy,” Andrews said. “We have lots of problems in the world and we could get together and solve those problems, but the ‘1 percent’ blocks everything.”
Protesters young and old gathered on both sides of the highway with signs reading “Honk if you Love Democracy” or “We Are the 99%”
A pair of local doctors, Chris Hyson and Tracie Di Marco, sported signs with a more streamlined message – “Health Care for the 99%.” Hyson says he supports single-payer health care and expanding Medicare to cover all, not just some.
“Currently, we have a health system that’s based on private insurance,” he said. “It’s profit making. We feel that profits have no business in health care. Daily, we’re confronted by people that can’t pay for their health care, people who lose their health care, and we feel that’s immoral.”
Di Marco calls health insurance the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
“If we took the money that goes into health insurance in this country and put it into health care for people, we’d have plenty of money to provide care for everyone in this country, equally,” she said.
Bob Andrews says he’s hopeful that the national occupy movement can translate into political momentum in 2012, the same way the tea party did in 2010. But he says it won’t be easy.
“The ‘1 percent’ are not going to just say, ‘Oh, sorry, we were stepping on your toes, sorry, I didn’t know,’ so we will expect pretty fierce competition along the way,” Andrews said. “As people pass by here, lots of people honk, but a lot have expressed a certain amount of vulgarity, and an awful lot of people just express indifference – they just drive by. So the process of building an organization, building public awareness around these issues, about the loss of democracy in the public conversation, it’s all part of the goals of the day.”