When something burbles around in my chest for awhile and agitates me, it's either indigestion or something bothering my mind that I need to deal with. I have concluded that in this case, I've got something to say.

Unsurprisingly, I see divided opinion about the value and mission of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests and the related gatherings happening now all over America. Wanna know what gets to me? Not the folks who don't like OWS's mission or how they are going about bringing it to worldwide attention. No, what kills me are the people who say it's all just a waste of time, that all politics and politicians and unions and organizations are essentially all the same: corrupt, self-interested, and divisive. That there is no way to change the essential nature of things, that greed and lust for power will always triumph in the end. That it is a foolish waste of time to go down on the street and protest, that it can never matter, that you can never trust in anything more than yourself, so why even try?

Is our political system irretrievably broken? Only if we allow it to be. If we only scoff at the attempts to change what seems to be an impersonal, reckless machine that serves no one but the super-rich and career politicians, what then? I understand when people are depressed and disgusted by the endless, useless tug-of-wars by both Republican and Democratic leaders. We all should be. The consequences of their actions are ruinous to a functional, healthy democracy. However, just bailing out of your responsibilities as a taxpaying, voting citizen because you don't think what you do matters is wrong, wrong, wrong. Things change when you not only work outside the system, but from within it as well. It's the only way.

There are some really good people out there on the inside, nowhere near as many as we all so desperately need there to be, but I promise you, they exist. They have the tenacity to wade through a river of crap so big and so wide and so choked with obstacles that it would drown people like you and me in a day. They get up and do what they can do, day after day, and try to live up to the idea of serving the public honestly. Find them, talk to them, question them, and support them, for as ruthless and shameless and motivated to remain in power as they are, no giants can survive when the people are truly united to bring their deeds to light and send them packing.

The greatest threat to our country's survival is exactly what it has always been, since the beginning.

YOUR bitterness

YOUR apathy

YOUR hopelessness

YOUR derision

YOUR inaction

If you choose to continue criticizing everything but never finding solutions, mocking those who speak up but never daring to show your own face, smugly sitting back in your chair saying, "See? I told you so!" don't you dare lay blame for this mess anywhere but your own doorstep first.

As it has always, always been, the worst in society depend on you doing and saying nothing. You are, without question, their strongest and best friend.

(photo by David Handschuh/