A grandmother joins the protest

Marching for a government that represents everyone

The author is retired after 23 years of employment with several civil-service agencies. She lives in Magalia.

I am a 67-year-old grandmother. When I was a young woman, back in the ’60s, I wasn’t present for the protests going on then. I was raising three small children, while other people my age were taking to the streets, so I can’t claim a long history of political activism.

However, on a recent Saturday I participated in the Occupy Chico rally and march. Most of the people there were more than 30 years old, and many were more than 50. They were respectful and orderly, and I saw no “hippies” or police anywhere. There were a lot of folks driving by honking and waving in support.

Detractors say that these protesters are complaining that the jobs available are beneath them, but many of these people have completed their college educations and owe huge amounts for student loans. They are willing to take any job offers, except there are few if any job offers to take.

In addition, many of them lost their homes because of foreclosures that happened through no fault of their own other than their inability to repay the subprime loans that banks and investors greedily profited from.

It appears that the party of “small government” is eroding our freedom, bit by bit. So-called “family values” supporters are trying to take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. They are also trying to define marriage for us. Some states are requiring drug tests for people on welfare, even though statistics show that only 2 percent have tested positive.

Many states are making it harder for people to vote by requiring a photo ID. Recently a 96-year-old lady in Tennessee who had missed just one election in her lifetime was denied a photo ID because she had only her birth certificate with her. They also wanted her marriage license. Of course, these laws will mainly affect the elderly, the disabled and students.

Because I am a grandmother, I am concerned about the future of our country and our planet. Until we have a government that represents everyone, and not just the richest 1 percent, my grandchildren are at risk. And so are yours.

That’s why I was at that Chico march, and that’s why I will be there again. You should be, too.

For another take on the Occupy Chico movement, see From the Edge.