What is Occupy Wall Street?
by Stan Faryna
Elvis Presley, Amazing Grace
Often, I do not spell out the social media lesson. I treat my blog posts that do illuminate social media DOHs as parables. The parable here is especially elusive and I allow it to remain so. Because we must accustom ourselves to the reality that the heart will know things long before the mind can comprehend.
Some of you may know that I have recently made several comments on Bruce Sallan’s blog post, The Value of Money and Occupy Wall Street, and to the comments there. However, the most important of those comments, perhaps, is the one I publish here. I understand that it reproduces poorly here out of context – at least at it’s start. Because I begin my comment by addressing a comment that attempts to analyze the OWS movement according to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy on civil disobedience and non-violent protest.
At the end of my long comment, I answer the question, what is Occupy Wall Street about.
I may be wrong. And I may be mistaken about many things. It is my intuitional opinion and it being an opinion and an intuition, it is neither necessarily right, wrong, worthwhile, nor useless. It just is.
You be the judge of whether or not my opinion speaks loudly to your heart or not. Because you alone are responsible for what you accept into your heart as a compelling instance of the beautiful, the good, and the true.
In her comment, Rebekah illuminates some important aspects of civil disobedience which MLK, Jr. gave clear articulation. However, we must always be ready to submit to the humility that God is the God of History and your status quo (or aspirations) may or may not fit with the History to which God intends. I believe that MLK, Jr. understood this fine point better than most. And the man lamented it greatly.
In fact, it is impossible to discern God’s intentions in history and we can only glimpse it in hindsight. We are told that we do not know when and where the spirit of God goes, who it inspires, and to what it has inspired them. Nor do those who may be moved by the Holy Spirit know why they do what they do.
Allow me also to illuminate Rebekah’s definition of an unjust law. MLK, Jr. depended greatly on Thomas Aquinas on the matter and even cites Aquinas in his letter from Birmingham jail. To simply say an unjust law is a law that simply harms all humans leaves much room for contention, argument, and confusion. Aquinas is quite clear that an unjust human law is any law that contradicts a specific divine law or the intentions of the Creator – generally speaking.
To be required to swear upon the Bible in a courtroom, for example, is an unjust law because there is a specific command from God that says, Do not swear on anything! Say yes or no! Most of us, however, don’t seem to mind this apparent faux pas against divine law.
MLK, Jr., of course, applied a broader reasoning based on the Creator’s intentions when defining the unjust laws of the prejudiced South.
Getting back to OWS specifically, we know that assumptions about peace-keeping, public safety, and sanitary issues are poor and convenient excuses to manipulate protesters, public assembly, and freedom of speech. Bull Conner used the same specious arguments when his police officers attacked non violent protesters in Birmingham.
Oakland’s position, however, that people are free to protest from 6am to 10pm is reasonable. But just as the bankers were predisposed to do as they imagined best for themselves without any concern for the public welfare, safety, and peace, so the protestors share the same disrespect and irreverence for authority, law, and the community. Do you blame them for that?
Insofar as the protesters are concerned about the scandalous failure of government to enforce the Rule of Law, their complaint is legitimate. As I have said before, thousands of Wall Street people should be prosecuted and their properties worth many Billions should be confiscated and auctioned off with proceeds going to the common good. And, yes, it goes beyond Wall Street. Prosecution must include bankers, politicians, public officials, and non-citizens from across the pond – all of whom participated in the feeding frenzy of greed and corruption in one manner or another.
Insofar as the protesters are concerned about the seemingly scandalous failure of government to ensure infinite economic growth, opportunity, and prosperity, their expectations are unrealistic. It seems to most thoughtful persons that there are not enough resources on this planet to satisfy the infinite and indiscriminate appetite of all the people in this world. When the American founding fathers describe the equality of human persons, they did not intend an equality of results. Because it is impossible.
Considering the vast and powerful resources of intelligence, research, and information at our government’s disposal, could our government have better prepared the nation to compete in a savage, ruthless global market? I don’t think so- not in this kinder, gentler world. The kind, generous giant (better known to the world as the evil American Empire) did not fully feed off of the weak as did, for example, the USSR, the British Empire, etc. And it is the American people who did not want this. Americans with their pure hearts had a deep faith that prosperity is a reward for doing the right thing (as often as it is convenient).
Most peoples, I have observed, do not share the same generous spirit when convenience permits such kindness. That’s what makes Americans beautiful.
Americans want change. And they will get change – not the change for which we hoped. Americans want hope. And they will get hope – not the indiscriminate material aspirations that are craved by the young and old in their foolish pride and expectations.
These are exciting and confusing times. There will be pain, tears, and hearts will be broken. Heaven will decide when, how, and how much.
Hunger, thirst, sickness, crime, and violence will increase. One out of three Americans will fall below today’s poverty mark and never get out of it – no matter how hard they try, work, or protest. And, of course, the poverty mark will be redefined. Lower.
Americans will become less kind and less gentle. Not just in foreign policy but they will treat their neighbors, badly. Fascism and prejudice will find new appeal in the hearts of angry Americans. Neighborhood associations will die. Thank God! Because the middle class neighborhoods in the suburbs will go to hell.
Good people will adjust to their unhappy circumstances with grace, humility, and prayer. Ambitious entrepreneurs will gather investors to fund their exodus so they can take their bright ideas abroad where low cost labor will execute profitable solutions. Many of them will lose their shirt because they are naive about the ways of the world. But some will return as heroes. Out of affection, the clever will teach their children to succeed. In other words, to deceive, lie, deal, steal, exploit, betray, and cover-up their crimes with an impeccable diligence.
This is what our protesters in OWS apprehend by intuition. In their hearts. A beautiful way of life seems to be coming to an abrupt conclusion. Are you really surprised they are uneasy with the world for all the right and wrong reasons?
And if the OWS message is incoherent, inarticulate, and fails to bring the human family together in solidarity, it is only so because the message waits for your words and heart to complete and embrace it.
What does your heart yearn to add to the OWS message?
If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.
If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,””Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.
27 October 2011
P.S. If you are so moved, say Happy Belated Birthday to me here on my fundraiser blog post. $5 would shake my heart like a long, square beard shaking with joy and kind laugher: http://wp.me/pbg0R-sv
1. Why do I blog: http://wp.me/pbg0R-kX
2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: http://wp.me/pbg0R-la
3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lv
4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lO
5. Are You Ready for Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-lX
6. Reading The Desiderata. http://wp.me/pbg0R-mr
7. What is Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-mw
8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nJ
9. Do you love strongly? http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY
10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on
11. The Economics of Friendship. http://wp.me/pbg0R-oU
12. Do Not Be Afraid. http://wp.me/pbg0R-p9