A Belief in Change, A Belief in Each Other

Elizabeth and Dennis Carbone

Faces of Occupy Wall Street

Elizabeth and Dennis Cordone walk around Zuccotti park with a sign quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” When Elizabeth carries the sign, Dennis follows behind, gently holding the small of her back. Their marriage is a perfect template for the America they yearn to see:”The more you give, the more you get,” they say. As far as how to achieve it? “It’s not luck. It’s hard work.”

Mr and Mrs Carbone have been attending the protest since its beginning a month ago. They are the quiet sign holders who smile at police officers and wave at spectators. But this is not to be confused with their anger at the status-quo.
“The American people are fed up,” Mrs Carbone says. “We want a piece of the pie. With ice-cream!”

According to this Brooklyn couple, it’s not a small change that this country needs, its a huge change, a radical change–and neither the incumbent runner nor the candidates for next year’s election are going to do it. National healthcare and affordable housing are just some of their demands–it’s what a citizenship should expect from their government.

“People complain that with socialism, you pay more taxes. But we’re already paying way too many taxes.” And the problem, they say, is that we-the-people are not receiving the benefits of them.

“When you invest in people, they give back to society,” Dennis says.

So what’s the solution? Zuccoti park is packed with at least several hundred people each day hoping for a resolution, waiting for change, believing in the idealism of an open government that isn’t controlled by multi-millionaire lobbyists. Well, healing a disgruntled country is much like working through a relationship. They should know. Forty years ago when they met in a lounge in Long Island, Elizabeth’s brother had just been sent to Vietnam and Dennis was a musician singing anti-war songs. But no idea was too outrageous for either them to embrace, which is a lesson this country–whose legislative branches almost sent this country into default because of polarized politics–could learn.

“Let’s just say,” Elizabeth explains, “the mind is like a parachute: the only time it operates is when its open.”

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