Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupying a bit at a time…

With the Occupy Movement so much in the news, I figured this might be a good time to weigh in again.

As you might know, I was at Occupy OC and marched with them last weekend. It came at a brutal time in my own life, so I thought it might be good to get outside my life a bit and help out where I could – and I did – unfortunately, though, I was too troubled by my own shit to really get into it, so I ended up just going through the motions. In the end, I’m glad I was part of it but wish I had done more.

Since then, of course, several things have happened with the Occupy Movement – many arrests, police brutality, the shooting of Scott Olsen – all in response to peaceful protests, to people simple exercising their first amendment rights.

And in my own life, I’ve had to deal with people who oppose the Occupy Movement – not because they can find anything about it they disagree with but because they have been told, through some mass media or peer pressure, that it would be cool to do so. And this just blows me away. Here is a movement that is peacefully assembling (despite the over-reaction of the police...) to affect political change in an environment where neither major political party will do the right thing for the 99% of citizens with the least economic and political influence. And, yet, they can’t be bothered. This is a movement that is speaking out against responsible people losing their homes. And, yet, they can’t empathize. This is a movement that is speaking against an economic system that refuses to do anything for the millions who have lost their jobs. And, yet, they refuse to care. This is a movement that is asking those in power to stop lying about global climate change and do something about it. And, yet, they don’t seem to think it affects them personally. This is a movement speaking out against the greatest wealth disparity in our country in over a century. And, yet, they don’t see what this has to do with them. This is a movement that is asking for banking regulation, which kept the economy steady until repealed a piece at a time since the 1980s, to be reinstated. And they refuse to understand what this means. This is a movement that is asking that the wealthiest 1% - multi-millionaires - be asked to once again pay their fair share of taxes, something they haven't had to do for decades. And, yet, they side with those who aren’t paying their share. The fact is the Occupy Movement is standing up for a lot more to help those who need it most. Standing against the Occupy Movement is like cheering for the boot pressing down on your own head.

These people say that it’s not as though they don’t understand the reason for protest but they don’t agree exactly 100% with the protesters. As if you must agree exactly 100%. As if you would ever agree with anything 100%. As if nothing is valid unless you agree exactly 100% with it. As if it’s better to side with those against your own self-interests, than to side with anything you agree with 99%.

Then, too, are the folk who parrot back to me the idiotic reasons they’ve been told they should dismiss the protests. “Those people have money,” they say, as if you can’t have a cent and still retain empathy for your fellow man. “Those people own things,” they say, and I wonder what they would say if the protesters were bare-ass naked. The thing is, it’s a false equivalency. And I’ve heard this from other morons as well, this insistence that you can’t challenge the status quo unless you are somehow removed from it – no property, no wealth, no trappings of any kind connected with modern society – or else you’re just as bad as the worse perpetrators. This is clearly nonsense, because the last protesters who went out without any connections were tarred as dirty hippies.

Simply, these people find it easier to fear change and fear what it will take to create change – and here’s hoping Scott Olsen and other victims of police brutality pull through – than to stand up for change. And that’s not right. Listen, I’m no saint and I certainly wasn’t the best protester at Occupy OC. I could have done better. But I’m not going to sit by and listen to you talk crap about something you refuse to understand or that you understand but refuse to stand up for. I’m doing what I can and you should, too.

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