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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reflection...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about a few different things, but in my head they are all strung together in a chaotic package full of those things called "feelings." Warning, this is long, but worth the read.

I'm nothing if not honest with myself and others about my opinions, likes, dislikes. So, I'm going to be honest with you guys right now. Honest about my confusion as far as my feelings, that is. 

I've truly been struggling with the whole Occupy Movement for two reasons. I'm not usually so dead set against grassroots movements. I'm the one who wanted to have a "Free Hug" demonstration right along side those who protest gay rights with their signs that say we're going to Hell. I'm the one who helped people fill out forms for food stamps and other financial help, when I knew they were struggling and would qualify. I'm the one who went door to door during the elections to get people to vote. I'm the one who was sickened at the thought of them cutting back on programs like Medicaid and Planned Parenthood, and so much more. 

I understand we need to change things. I know there is corporate and political corruption that needs to be addressed. I know banks use their power and money to lobby for laws that suit them. I know there is no cut in the politician's pay, yet educational programs are cut, and teachers are laid off. I know we are continually screwed by insurance companies, and we have to pay a LOT of money when we do have an illness... I mean, I pay quite a bit of money just to breathe. My asthma meds are expensive. 

SO, with this being said, I've really been trying to figure out why I have a real problem with this movement. 

Here it is:

First of all, I think it causes chaos. I don't believe this type of chaos will get us the desired results. While talking with the people in the park, and listening in on their morning meeting, I didn't once hear how they were going to address the very problems they are protesting. I heard them making plans for bringing this or that tent in, the food planning, what they would do during the rain the next day, and what their schedule would be for the "Soap Box." That day's "Soap Box" discussion- Communal Living, taking from the rich and giving to the poor. I'm going to tell you right now, that anyone who has worked their a**es for what they have doesn't respond well to that. In their heads they do give, when they volunteer, when they give to charities, when they pay their taxes, and believe it or not they do pay a lot toward taxes. Let's define rich... the average rich person, pays the same amount toward taxes that the SUPER rich pay. So lets discuss adding a new tax bracket.... so that the average aren't giving almost 44% of what they earn. 

In my efforts not to sit here like a football fan yelling "Do it better!", yet not offer a suggestion, I wanted to think of other ways Occupy could make changes without the chaos. This group of people... all over the world, seems to be quite resourceful. Why can they not pull their resources, and give us a group of political front runners who will actually be able to correct this mess? I say a group, because one person, sadly, cannot make a change, as we've seen with our current Government. Democrats and Republicans have shown time and time again that they cannot work together for the better of the country and the people. The Republicans are paid for by the right-wing to push their agenda, and the Democrats, well, they have the liberals behind them, which doesn't get them anywhere against the Republicans. We need to elect an entire group of individuals that can work together. A group that understands BIG business is a good thing, but that it needs to be cleaned up. A group that will not succumb to the money of big banks, put stiffer regulations in place, and create watchdog groups.  A group who can come up with a health care system that works for everyone. It's not easy... but we need to start making a change with our voting practices... with our politicians. IF Occupy is truly 99% of the population, then this would be quite successful in a non-chaotic way. 

Second... the chaos scares me... period. I don't like waking up in the morning and reading about a huge demonstration in America, that has ended in teargas and violence, and with an entire port being shut down. I don't like reading about the unrest between Israel and Palestine on the same day. I don't like reading about earthquakes in states that rarely experience them on the same day as I read the other news. It's chaos... I mean seriously. God is NOT happy with us right now, and I can feel it. I felt it this summer when we went over 60 days without rain and with temperatures in 100's. I feel it when I drive by vacant buildings that were once thriving businesses. I feel it when I see a division between races, religions, and cultures. I feel it when I hear about the horrible things people do to children.

When I was a kid, I had nightmares about the world ending. My mother was into the prophets who predicted that stuff and always watched it on television. That along with her mental illness didn't blend well. I remember listening to the years horrible things were supposed to happen, and memorizing every single one of them. I took our plastic soda bottles, refilled them, and kept them in the bottom of my closet in preparation for "the big drought." I was well on my way to becoming a survivalist at a young age, but hell, in my childhood, the world was ending every single day. I had no control at all over the bad. To this day, I am scared of things I have no control over. 

I just figure, if we can keep the chaos to a minimum, if we do things differently, then perhaps that will help keep us here a little while longer. Look, I'm finally happy in life, and would like to enjoy it for many years to come. Selfish, I know. 






2 comments:

Titanium said...

Thank you for this. You've thoughtfully and gently captured the essence of the Discomfort that seems to pervade all the little corners of life these days.

I live and work in Fairbanks, Alaska and travel frequently to the West Coast for work. I spent about six hours over the course of two days, interviewing folks at the Occupy San Francisco gathering (mostly just listening, but asked a few questions).

I didn't come away with any answers, just some amazing photos of humans and their canine companions in the Middle Places. I've shared dialogue with individuals from every possible walk of life, from every angle of the pro/anti Occupy stance.

We are all the same. That is all I know for certain. Some of us are fortunate enough to eek out a living with a job (or three) that pays the bills. Some of us are homeless by choice (or not) and jobless (mostly not by choice).

We are all scared. Disenfranchised. Anxious for our kids, worried for our parents (and grandparents). We all bleed, sweat, cry, laugh and hope. The Occupy movement is not an answer, it's scarcely even a question that can be heard.

When one man I interviewed turned the microphone on me and asked what I thought, I had to gently tell him that when a toddler "occupies" the kitchen, makes a mess, colors on the drawers and poops on the floor, the toddler's message/cry for help cannot be heard above the chaos and havoc s/he has wreaked.

If the message be paramount, then the delivery must be refined and packaged for the listener. Toddlers can't do that. Occupiers likely can't either. Either way, the bigger problems exist that caused the tantrum/chaos in the first place.

Each one of us is accountable for our own actions, thoughts, behaviour; if we each commit to being the Change, to giving voice (articulately) and leading by example... the world (even in microcosm) will change. That's all I've got. It's not enough and yet... somehow, it is.

One of the girls I photographed in San Francisco asked me for a dollar in exchange for taking her photo. With all my heart, I told her that to do so would only devalue her. She is worth so very, very much more. In fact, I cannot afford to pay her anything close to what she is truly worth. All I could do is promise to take beautiful, beautiful pictures of her and her dog. Share them with the world and tell a tiny part of her story.

So, now she's here and so am I. It's good to meet you, to share this corner of your world. Thanks for visiting me, for joining the conversation.

-Ti

Aeria said...

This is a great reflection. I feel alot of the same anxieties. I think you explained alot of what you are feeling about the occupy thing very eloquently- really has made me think and I agree. :)

Great post!