We have the heart and the numbers

We have the heart and the numbers

Unlike the tea party, Occupy Wall Street is unlikely to organize further. It will strengthen various movements associated with it.

The antiwar movement, mortgage reform, unions, consumer protection, and most liberal causes will will benefit. The word "liberal" may lose its taint.

A more confrontational group is likely to split off. Like the antiwar movement 50 years ago, it is the organization of a storm long coming.

Chaos is a plus and a minus. No one can predict where in the political arena its energy will go.

Similar to the tea party, it is associated with Democratic issues but not bound to them. Less government and more local control should be absorbed as issues, possibly in conjunction with education reform. The lack of centralization should slow down politicians who are eager to divide and conquer.

Momentum for a shift to the left has been growing since Ronald Regan was in office. Demonstrations this widespread indicate a tipping point has been reached. The genie will not go back in the bottle; the paradigm has shifted.

The tea party has anger and organization. We have heart and the numbers. Now we, all of us, need to decide how to deal with this force.

Paul Kenneth Grimsrud

Ashland

We were all part of the 99 percent

On Friday, Oct. 7, I passed through the protesters to enter Chase Bank to do some banking.

While I was glad to see that the protesters were raising awareness, I was filled with compassion for the teller, who related to me that he wished they could take their protest to the corporate headquarters. I responded that it was too bad that the people in the front lines had to bear the brunt of the protests when in fact they had little or no influence on the bank's policies.

The humanity of the situation then came into full relief for me — the protesters, the police, the bank staff and I, the customer, were all characters on the stage of life coming together in different roles because of issues that arise from injustice and greed. We were all indeed part of the 99 percent.

Kathleen Collins

Ashland

Give a listen to singer, songwriter Elliot Smith

Today I'd like to tell the community about a not-so-famous late singer-songwriter: Elliott Smith, who nonetheless has a highly passionate or even obsessed fan base.

Smith was mentally ill, haunted by an imaginary white van that followed him from place to place and plagued by persistent anxiety problems, notable shyness and related addiction issues. But he was a highly skilled musician and composer, playing all rock's instruments, and creating many songs of great complexity and brilliance, and strengthened by lyrics packed with clever wordplay.

The bottom line is that Smith achieved one of the peaks of modern music,and yet remains fairly obscure, leaving it to fans to spread the word however possible. "Independence Day" and "Coraliza" are two songs I'd recommend.

Smith is noted, and sometimes deplored, for an emotionally open style tending excessively toward depression. The true lover of music, however, will hear great life and positivity in the language of musical notes.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

Ashland