Friday, October 28, 2011
I've been thinking about the Occupy Wall Street movement -- all the people gathering in cities around the United States and elsewhere, protesting the economic insanity of our time.
I certainly sympathize with the cause. But I haven't been motivated to join the protests -- even though I'm unemployed, a fairly recent victim of downsizing, a cog in a declining industry, and I am deeply troubled by the flow of wealth upward to the highest rungs of our economic ladder. I'm definitely among the 99 percent!
I could easily go down to St. Paul's Cathedral, the site of the London protests, and lend my voice. (Under no circumstances would I camp out there, though -- not while I still have responsibilities in my comfortable home, to a partner and two geriatric dogs, one on medication.) I could at least take photos and bear witness to the events.
I'm not sure why I'm not more motivated -- I used to relish the idea of protesting injustice. In fact I feel a little ashamed of my lack of enthusiasm. I guess when it comes right down to it, I doubt the effectiveness of street protesting for such a broad cause. It's one thing to protest anti-choice measures or nuclear weapons, but an entire socioeconomic system run amok?
Maybe I'm just too old and too cynical. But I don't think the protests are worthless for their lack of focus, as some critics have charged. The fact that so many people (more motivated than I, he says shamefully) care enough to get out and participate shows the depth of dissatisfaction and anger and that, in itself, is an important message.
And for each of those protesters there are probably hundreds of others, like me, who believe in the cause but haven't put our feet on the street. Yet, anyway.
(Photo: The shadow from a vase of stargazer lilies in the kitchen.)