Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Monday, October 03, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Some say that it is a counter-movement to the one started by the Tea Party/Tea Baggers.

Others say the Arab Spring has arrived in America.

"We the people" have suddenly begun to understand that it's not "Him the people" (The President) or "They the people" (Congress).

We are the ones we have been waiting for. And, we've become disillusioned by and made impatient with wars and corporate greed and political corruption.

What began as a gathering of mainly young people on Wall Street in NYC has, of last count, spread to 36 states and many more cities in a movement some are calling "Occupy the Nation".

Their "Manifesto" reads, in part:
"We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent."
I find myself inspired and hopeful by this movement.

The signs they carry are not ad hominem attacks on the President or any particular member of Congress or specific wealthy persons.

Instead, they carry messages like: "The NYPD is one pay check away from being a member of our movement."

"Democracy is not a spectator sport."

"No more corruption."

"Wall Street = War Street"

"I can't afford a lobbyist. I am the 99%".

"Arrested yesterday. Back today. This movement will sweep the nation. We are the 99%".

And, on every sign I've seen, there are no spelling errors.  Not. One.

That alone gives me hope.

They have been joined by postal worker unions and teacher unions as well as their parents and grandparents who carry signs that read, "Granny Peace Brigade".
“We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent,” read a post on the Occupy Wall Street website.
On October 1st, approximately 1,500 people occupied the Brooklyn Bridge. At the end of the day, approximately 700 of them had been arrested.

Occupy Wall Street has only recently come into the media spotlight, less because of their political message, but primarily because of the way the protesters have been treated - which, by the way, is a very different method than that used to "manage" demonstrations by Tea Baggers.

It has been documented by eye-witness accounts as well as photo and video that certain high-ranking members of the NYPD punched, threw, and stepped on peaceful marchers. Reportedly, those who were arrested were handcuffed so tight their hands turned blue. And then there was the report that a senior police officer forced women into pens and maced them at point-blank range.

Ah, the NYPD has yet to learn that there is no greater force than martyrdom.

Seems our politicians haven't learned that lesson, either.

They've tried to make martyrs of us all, sacrificial offerings on the Altar of Greed. It seems that "we the people" just aren't going to take this lying down.  If we are going to be martyrs to a cause, it will be the cause of our choosing and we'll fight back the whole way.

Well, at least some of us will. More and more of us every day, it seems.

It reminds me of my work with ACT-UP in the 80s.  ACT-UP stands for "AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power".  And, that's exactly what it did. It took all the anger and frustration about the lack or response from the government and medical and scientific communities (and yes, even churches, synagogues and temples) and turned it into demonstrations and street-theater and political action.

I don't think it's my ego, but I am convinced that, without a movement like ACT-UP, we would not have the treatment opportunities we have today for People With AIDS.

Without ACT-UP, AIDS would not be, for many people in this country, a treatable, long-term disease with terminal implications. It would not have the international spotlight it has today, bringing treatment and medicines to places in the Global South.

I hope that Occupy Wall Street will have a similar affect on political corruption and corporate greed.

I encourage you to support them in anyway you can. No one is asking for money. This isn't that kind of movement. Support them with your prayers. Support them with your encouragement and enthusiasm.  Support them with your vote to elect people to Congress who WILL represent us.

And, if you can, join them with your presence.

I'm planning to join them when they come to Wilmington, DE. I hope to join them when I'm back in New York.  You can find a list of actions and movements in your neck of the woods by visiting "Occupy the Nation".

Remember: It's WE the people.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.


Geeklet said...

I have been wondering for a good week when this would catch your eye, and I think seeing priests there would be AMAZING.

For some reason, Psalm 82:2-4 just keeps popping into my brain:

"How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and to the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

I mean, I know that's supposed to be talking about the divine council and the Canaanite gods. It just seems so darned appropriate.

Paul said...

I love the picture of the dancer! That's a keeper.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Geeklet - Oh, I've been watching this for some time - just wasn't sure how I wanted to write about it that would be helpful. And yes, I will definitely wear my collar when I go to NYC or Wilmington.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Paul - It's their logo. It's wonderful, isn't it?

walter said...

Meditation of the hearts on post-Franciscan charity discerning from my time with my Brother Paul in an American coffee shop: In telling the location of my secret I have good news 4, I am good news, I am the Gospel: I got my Working Papers – I am an American Citizen. In the name of the One Organism who keeps us centered and focused we stay centered in the moment in the lyrics and liturgy of life.

Walter Vitale

LVTfan said...
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the Reverend boy said...

I hope they are still in downtown when I arrive in New York for a brief visit in December.

To visit or to even be a part of this for a few moments would be powerful, especially as one who at one time worked as an Exec Assistant to some of the 1%.