Finally, after talking with Oklahoma Gazette about the issues he faced, Mike Galletly decided to allow his name to be published.
“I love my country with all my heart,” said Galletly, who had three deployments into combat as an infantryman, his eyes filling with tears. “I just wish our country loved us back.”
Galletly was on hand for the Occupy OKC event that began in downtown’s Kerr Park on Oct. 10. The movement sprang from the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have seen thousands gather to protest what they see as greed and corruption of the political and social system in favor of the moneyed few.
“I think we gave billions of dollars to my bank in the (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailouts, but the motherf---ers won’t adjust my mortgage unless I intentionally start skipping payments,” said Galletly, who claimed he was recently discharged from the armed services. “And when you hear stories about people who do that because the bank told them to do that, and the bank forecloses on them anyway — after three years of doing things like Mom and Dad not eating on Mondays and Wednesdays to save money. I’m not going to do something that risks my house after all that.”
Between 120 and 150 people gathered for the early hours on Oct. 10, and although many of those did not camp in the park, some did choose to stay overnight, and as of press time, Kerr Park remained occupied.
Signs at the protest included “Stop outsourcing,” “The governed no longer consent,” “Get $ out of politics” and “Privatized gain = socialized loss.”
Despite a wide array of opinions on individual issues, it’s not difficult to discern what the protest movement is about: fighting back against what is perceived to be a system that has seemingly been turned into one by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful.
Tom Lucas of Yukon listened to the speakers at the assembly, holding a sign reading “Pissed off worker bee.”
“I would like to be able to call my representative
for the state or federal (government), and talk to them as the
(multibillionaire) Koch brothers do,” Lucas said. “I’m concerned for my
grandchildren, and all grandchildren. I would like to see them have a
better future, but what we’re seeing looks grim to me.”
think Wall Street has done a lot of damage,” Lucas said. “There may be
some good folks that work in those buildings up there, but I think our
representatives should be listening to us. Power corrupts, and those guys on Wall Street have too much of it.”
right, Attorney Jay Trenary of Guthrie speaks to those participating Oct. 10 at the Occupy OKC gathering in Kerr Park.
Galletly said he feels something has gone fundamentally wrong with the country, in that it is harder to rise into or stay in the middle class, and many people feel the same.
“I don’t think the world is sup posed to be the way it is,” Galletly said. “I think we as Americans can do better. It’s got to be more about doing the right thing for the largest number of people. I think regardless of your political persuasion, most people know something has gone horribly off the tracks. We can do better.”
Photos and video by Matt Carney