This past weekend I got a call from my buddy who was Occupying Wall Street. He is no longer able to Occupy as such but his desire is still as strong. They have to stay near the area until a court date in 6 weeks so have continued protesting within the confines set up by the NYPD, DHS, local business leaders and the media coverage. This has taken a very different form but if anyone can adapt it is the ragamuffins who have lived in between social norms for years. I respect him and his wife for being there, but…
I feel like he is preaching to the choir. We agree on the reasons to be there; that banks take advantage of people and corporations desire to make money more than treat people like…well, humans. Also that said bankers make extravagant salaries at the upper levels compared to the lower levels and even more extravagant compared to minimum wage earners. Most people that claim him as a friend agree with this.
We discussed his seeing the Gospel in action and being able to witness and share Jesus with people while cops are pushing, kicking and destroying former possessions. He expressed how the Fruits of the Spirit are real and he has seen peace, joy, love, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, self-control and patience in all those around him. Especially patience as they wait for others to understand their reasoning. I agree with him that the fruits of the spirit are real and most likely evident there, but…
I feel like this movement is supported by “the choir”. Those around me who support the movement are also the one who intentionally have little savings, donate a lot, give a lot, seek out ways to help people and envision a world that actually works harmoniously.
He thinks I am a pessimist. That I don’t think they will change anything. That I can’t imagine them actually changing politics or corporate greed enough to matter. I said that I didn’t have to change banks on November 5th because I don’t bank with national chains that rip people off. That I gave up on those banks long ago. I guess I am pessimistic when I watch the news and see what is actually being made law. When I hear people saying all taxes are bad while they walk on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk or talk on a telephone that transmits a signal off a satellite and back to a tower on public land.
I said there needs to be a worldview change in which people realize they got to where they are because of a break received at some point. Which means that no one gets rich just by trying hard—if that was the case Amazon warehouse workers would be millionaires. Someone helped them, taught them, or coached them at some point. Someone invested in them and without an initial investment they would have been nothing more than a burger flipper till they were 45. Did they put in effort, not get caught screwing up and play by the rules? Potentially.
Someone invested in me when I was 20 and gave me break to sit in an office for 10 months and do menial work. I was able to put that on a resume that only included yard work and warehouses previous to that. This leads me to being 32 and sitting in an office doing slightly more important, more responsibility encumbered… yet still by some definitions…menial work. It also gives me the option to not protest. To not be consistently ridiculed by the bad section of the movement. To not be forced to do something but instead have a choice. To choose where and what my next meal, house, car, friend, pet will be.
We also discussed what the media is telling me versus what he has experienced. Again I felt like he was preaching to the choir. The police were using their power to move press out of the way before breaking up protests. Partially because the police don’t know who is a YouTuber that might provoke them and who works for CNN. Plus, I knew, and most of his fellow protestors know, “news” is now a business. Broadcast and cable news needs to sell commercial time to cover costs. The more ludicrous you are the better the ratings. The more you present stories that people agree with or are completely shocked by or fearful of…the more revenue you get and the more you can keep doing what you do and the more you get paid. If only there was a National broadcasting network so we could get news without commercial investment…
Case in point, NPR is our national radio station but has to raise money to air programing and therefore air programs that people like. It is often a leftist tilt because generally leftists are the ones who donate to them and not just buy Tide because it advertising on a racecar. Which leads me to art versus entertainment…which is another 860 words.
For another guy’s thoughts on this, check out what I read this morning— after writing this.
UPDATE: Please watch