Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church, Judson.org
I really recommend reading it in its entirety.
But the larger story is one of extraordinary discipline, inner development, non-violence. The larger story is the way some folk out of Canada, with great symbols and slogans, camped out and changed the conversation in the United States. I call Occupy my Xanax, my anti-depressant, my ability to sit with peers over dinner or coffee and not become morbid. I had a spiritual and political depression. I don't have it any more. The cops don't have a chance of taking it away from me....
We just pick up our tents and our iPads and our vegan options and our beautifully swept park and tell the gardeners who are bringing down new flowers that they'll have to come back in the spring, after student loans are halved and bank fees obliterated, after foreclosures are foreclosed. If I read the spirit of the drum right, we may have to come back every September and every spring and do something so extraordinarily bright that it shines a light on Wall street and the way it has forgotten heart beats as well as drum beats. We may have to await a constitutional amendment, one that takes money out of politics or makes sure that corporations are understood for what they are, which is not persons or personal. Another blogger says, "I'll know corporations are individuals as soon as the State of Texas executes one." I don't want to be that punishmentalist. I just want a couple of constitutional amendments. Is that too much to ask? It will come by humor, by deftness, by ducking the police, season after season after season.
So, this is a woman of faith--the kind that focuses on those things Jesus told us to focus on: helping to ease suffering rather than blaming the sufferers for their "defects," for not being "good" like us.
And this is a woman who believes in democracy--government by the people for the people rather than government for those who can buy the most politicians.
And this is a woman whose views represent those of the vast majority of Occupy supporters--people of all ages and in all walks of life who care about preserving the American dream: the notion that we are a caste-less society. That dream has become more and more threatened as our government has become more and more corrupted by a self-righteous elite who think the whole damned pie should be theirs. They want America, Inc. to increase their profits. They sell the gullible the lie that increasing their fortunes helps us all.
It does not. Capitalism is not evil--in fact it can be a force for good, if regulated properly. But the elites and their mouthpieces have convinced some average Americans that any regulation and any tax is "socialism" and thus "anti-American." It's not that simple.
Since the 1980s, the real threat to America and to social mobility around the world has not been "socialism!" but a new kind of feudalism. Remember the tales of old when all the land was owned by just a few and the many depended on them for their subsistence? Moving closer to today, think of Carnegie's steel mills in Pittsburgh. People came here from Eastern Europe looking for the American Dream and found themselves working for pennies in 12-hour shifts for six days a week. The mill owners wanted to maximize their profits, of course. So that meant the lowest wages possible and no investment at all in worker safety, even in humane conditions. That's what unregulated capitalism looks like. Power and money become concentrated in the hands of an elite few. It took the workers organizing and revolting to improve their lot. Down the hill from me, in the cemetery, is a placard honoring those who died when Carnegie and Frick tried to forcibly break a strike with armed Pinkertons in the Battle of Homestead.
Things changed. The New Deal was passed, unions grew, the GI Bill rewarded our brave soldiers returning from WWII and America experienced The Great Expansion--a huge growth in the numbers of Americans rising from poverty into the middle class--in the mid twentieth century. The wealthy elites resented it. More for everyone meant less for them. By the 1980s, a new conservative movement--helped by the left's excesses and the South's resentment of the civil rights movement--rose to power with Ronald Reagan. Over time, it has become a victim of its own propaganda so that today even David Stockman and other key architects of Reaganism are appalled by the simple-minded solutions offered by the right: always cut taxes, always deregulate, always wage war. It has become an angry, ill-informed movement. Just take a peek at the GOP presidential debates.
Long post. I haven't posted in a while--mainly because I've become sick of politics. Today's Democrats make me as ill as today's GOP. Both parties have been bought up by a callous element of the elite. Our democracy was barely breathing. And then the Occupy movement made the mainstream media discuss inequality and the many threats to the middle class. People started noticing that the U.S. is becoming a third world country--a wealthy few, many poor, a shrinking middle class--thanks to banksters and robber barons.
So I made the mistake of glancing over the rightwing propaganda posted in that long, ugly thread and this is my response.
As Reverend Schaper writes, "Some sexual violence was happening, likewise drugs, as the park was open to the world and the world moved in with it.
But the larger story is one of extraordinary discipline, inner development, non-violence."
And a commitment to resuscitating the American Dream--that beautiful idea that no matter how poor the family you're born into, through studying and hard work, you can one day own a home, a business, a car. You can do better than the previous generation did.
This movement is about restoring that dream.
Edited by Spectacles, 15 November 2011 - 10:53 AM.