As a white, middle-class, retired person of no particular political persuasion, I now feel compelled to speak up. For 60-odd years I have watched the political scene and have been in turn awed, disgusted, proud, ashamed, hopeful and despondent about what I have witnessed. Yet, I have no question as to why we are the greatest nation in the world. Our strength is in the political pendulum that swings to the right and to the left, but always gravitates toward the middle ground.

To the extreme right stand the “Haves,” the wealthy greedy, who milk the public for all they can get by bribing politicians to enact laws benefiting the rich at the expense of the middle class. To the extreme left stand the “Have-nots,” the poor and lazy who milk the public for all they can get by bribing politicians to enact laws benefiting the poor at the expense of the middle class.

The vast majority of us are in the middle … we have been silent and have been taken advantage of by both the Democratic and Republican parties for too long.

The emerging grass-roots “Occupy Wall Street” groups are demanding changes that are necessary in order to maintain our American way of life, stabilize our economy and allow all of us a greater share in the wealth of our nation. We must reduce our national debt, but we must also care for our needy (as opposed to our lazy and our greedy) and stop the siphoning off of our financial resources by the ultra-wealthy through corruption and political favors.

People need jobs to support their families; they need a good education to get those jobs. People need homes, affordable medical care and safe food to eat. People need protection from criminals and swindlers and manufacturers and bankers. People need to know that, if they are productive citizens or disabled or ill, they and their children will not be abandoned in their time of need.

“Obamacare” is not a perfect solution … but something needed to be done, and the Republicans were not doing it. Likewise, the president’s jobs bill is only a proposed step in the right direction, made necessary by the collapse of our economy after decades of political money-grabbing. It is time for the wealthy to pay their fair share along with everyone else and regardless of political affiliation.

Accusations of “class warfare” are true … the middle class are the victims of stealthy “guerilla warfare” waged by both major parties. If this warfare continues, the next occupiers of Wall Street may not be so peaceful, and the world may soon be reading about the demise of yet another country … the greatest country that ever was.

Cheryl Hensley

retired lawyer

Denham Springs