by Nate Jackson What do you call a man who snatches away the things that bring us joy? The Grinch.
Monday morning a group of 99%ers gave a wake up call to a 1% local area "Grinch" named Kemper Freeman. Freeman is a Bellevue real estate mogul who throws around money to political campaigns and politicians who directly affect our health-care, job prospects and education.
He has backed candidates and policy makers, like Rep. Reichert, who voted against extending unemployment benefits for 62,000 people across Washington State.
He’s shoved money into the pockets of national congressmen like Speaker Boehner who is hell bent on slashing Medicare and Medicaid.
Freeman also doled out cash to local area initiative huckster Tim Eyman to stop the State Legislature from closing tax loopholes for big banks and corporate jets.
He is taking from the people who need essential services and giving to those who’ve forgotten what it was like to need a helping hand. It’s like his heart is two sizes too small.
Freeman is acting like “The Grinch” so we showed up to try to get him to open his eyes.
Workers and unemployed folks gathered on the corner of 8th and Bellevue Way right under Freeman’s office. We handed out carol songbooks to passersby and started singing the 99% version of some holiday classics. Songs like “Here comes Kemper Freeman,” “The 12 Days of Working Poor,” and “All I want for Christmas is a Good Job.”
We sang and sang and took our message inside the offices of Kemper Freeman. Freeman tried to stop having to hear from us and blocked off the elevators. We took the stairs. We wanted to see Freeman and let him know that the 99% weren’t going to take his meddling in our democracy anymore.We wanted him to have another chance to “grow his heart.” Instead he shut the doors on our faces.
RJ Williams, sporting a walking stick, spoke to the crowd outside of Freeman’s office.
“We want to know how you can sleep at night,” RJ said. “You buy our democracy when we just want good jobs, health-care and good education. Shame on you.”
Since Freeman was hiding in his office we decided to go into the mall itself and spread holiday cheer. We sang our hearts out as swarms of onlookers took out their phones and cameras and some even joined in. People came up to us and asked why we were demonstrating and we told them.
Freeman and the 1% think they can buy our democracy and put policies into place that strip away our education, health-care and social services that we so desperately need. It was time for “The Grinch” to stop playing around with our futures.
The Grinch was snatching hats off our heads trying to dampen our mood, but we couldn’t be bothered. The 1% may think that they can keep us down, but they are sorely mistaken.
Everywhere you look you see people standing up. We are not going to sit back and let the 1% dictate what happens to our families anymore. People are getting involved, getting informed and getting out of the house and into the streets. We need to keep up our momentum and keep going after the people who have been holding us down in direct, peaceful actions.
We are not going to let the 1% have their way without a fight. We will keep pushing for a more fair economy where everyone who wants a job should be able to find a good job that treats them with respect.
We need companies and the 1% to invest in their workers, not hand out more bonuses to CEOs. They need to remember that if they invest in us, the workers, they will get more in return--community respect.
If they grew their hearts and invested in education, good jobs and health-care everyone would benefit in the end. Who says we can’t have a happy ending?