I will first admit. I haven’t paid much attention to Occupy Wall Street/Philly/Etc. I don’t really care all that much, to be honest (which has more to do with apathy than anything–to be honest again). However, from what I gather, a bunch of people are tired of corporate greed and are rallying behind a slogan “We are the 99%.” I have a brief, yet I hope valuable, take on all of this.
For those pro-Occupy: It simply won’t do to complain about corporate greed. The line of evil runs through you. How can you stop greed in your own life? Part of maturing is resisting “blame-shifting.” We think, “Yes, I am in a bunch of debt, but it not my fault. It’s the government. It’s Microsoft. It’s the Sallie Mae.” Blame-shifting is an anxious, (often) knee-jerk reaction out of fear that someone might point out where we are to blame. My debt, true, is my debt. If I decide that I want an iPad, go out an buy one on my Visa, that’s my problem. If I believed I had to go to a more expensive college to get a better job, took out a loan to pay for the world’s most expensive piece of paper (i.e., degree), and now have 6-figures of debt, that’s my problem. There is greed in all of us. Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, amidst the Vietnam protests in the 1960′s reminded everyone that unless we are going to look inwardly at the violence in us, pacifism just becomes another war-tactic. The same is true here with greed.
For those contra-Occupy: It also simply won’t do to complain about the protesters. A lot of “Stop being lazy, get a job, and work hard at it. I did that. So should you!” line of thought has been floating around. That line of thought is contingent on “get a job,” which appears to be extremely difficult at this time and partially why the protesters are out on Wall Street. Yes, I have a job. After I lost my job as a youth pastor, it took me almost a year to be hired at a full-time job, and there are many people out there that work harder than I do to find a good (or any) job to pay for their family and it is taking them much, much longer. It’s hard to say, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when someone can’t even buy the boots. Instead of thinking, “What systems are currently established that are keeping people from getting jobs?”, we complain about the people who can’t get jobs.
Basically, the line of evil runs through all of us. How are we involved in the evil that permeates our world? Let’s ask ourselves this question and work toward a solution. For me, I’m apathetic. What about you?
That’s my take.