To the editor:
For the past few years, I have heard the name "Koch brothers" as background noise. Like most people, I am too busy with "life" to delve into what is happening politically in America and the world. Today, I'm here to tell you I am afraid: for my family, my friends and my neighbors across the nation (and the globe). Why now, more than ever before? Because I received a wake-up call on Sunday, June 29, when at least a dozen concerned citizens watched a chilling documentary about the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch (pronounced coke).
"Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition" is the work of famed documentarian Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films. In May 2014, Republican Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan tried to block an event unveiling the film on Capitol Hill, asserting that its showing was an "inappropriate use of taxpayer-funded facilities." The film shows how the Kochs use their vast fortunes to buy policy and politicians, influence the Supreme Court, dismantle voting rights and equality in education, and finance opposition to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, an increase in the minimum wage, and tackling climate change. Koch money was used to attempt to destroy a very successful racial integration program in a North Carolina school district. I was disgusted to learn of the astounding number of cancer deaths in a poor Louisiana community where their Georgia-Pacific lumber mill dumps waste in the creek that borders the community. Imagine family, friends and neighbors getting sick and dying all around you.
David and Charles Koch are called "the poster boys of the top 1 percent" with their money and power fueling the growing inequality in America. These Koch brothers (they are two of four) want to eliminate the ability for working folk to have power at either the ballot box or the bargaining table, so they try to eliminate trade unions. But thanks to more than 2,000 small donors, this film is available free to viewers so that we have our power in knowledge of their doings. Simply go to www.bravenewfilms.org/koch2014. It is also available on YouTube; search the title. You may also wish to read "Sons of Witchita" by David Shulman, available in print and audio.
I'd like to acknowledge Phyllis Magnus of Saranac Lake for getting the word out and hosting a viewing at her home on Sunday, June 29. Members of the Adirondack Unitarian-Universalist Community, Voters for Change, North Country 350 and others enjoyed a lively discussion and refreshments. We hope to provide more opportunities for others to become proactive in small ways that can create great change.
Remember this: There was a time not so long ago in this country only men could vote. Yet women gained the right to vote despite their perceived lack of power. There are many such examples in our history where we have fought hard to make democratic gains and succeeded. I believe we are not powerless unless we choose to believe that we are.
Virginia "Ginger" Slater