Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Shots from Occupy Wall Street

One of the most interesting thing at Occupy Wall Street are the hundreds of cardboard box tops that have been taken up by pretty much anyone who wants with their thoughts and quotes. Passersby walk slowly through the area, reading all the signs, and sometimes adding their own.  Some people sit there holding signs, too. One lady's read: "I walk dogs for a living, and they have more health insurance than I do."

I was very struck by that quote in the center, not only because it's from Jefferson and seems so prescient to our struggles in recent years, but because some of the very bankers whose institutions have proven so destructive continue to take huge salaries, rake in huge profits for their business often at the expense of their consumers, and speak out so strongly against banking reform. In what other industry, I wonder, can you rip people off so fundamentally and be rewarded for it? The mob and political spin doctors are the only other professions I could come up with...

One of the other things I love about the stuff at Occupy Wall Street is its willingness to look beyond politics to the bigger human questions, as well. There's so much pressure to conform and to take jobs that are safe, to become cogs in the system. But I always think of the end of Mary Oliver's poem "The Summer Day": "Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?"


Stephanie Ratcliffe said...

Kodiak and I will probably go down there after the comicon on Sunday and bring them some food--fixin' for some sammiches.

Carol said...

I was a little too young to be actively participating in the social consciousness demonstrations of the 1960s but was heavily influenced by them (who of us alive at that time wasn't, for better or worse?) One of the underlying themes was avoiding compromising one's principles to become a cog in the machine, after you cut through all the rhetoric.

After I came of age and assumed my place as a good little cog, I spent years wondering what happened to the idealism and energy of the sixties, when I wasn't too busy being a cog to think about it. I would occasionally glance at the following generations and shake my head, wondering what passion drove them, other than the passion of hedonism. And coglike, I marched into middle age in lockstep with most of the rest of my generation, wondering what kind of world we would hand down, and to what kind of people we would hand off.

Occupy Wall Street gives me hope that the new generation is conscious of the deterioration of this nation. I pray that they develop an effective strategy in putting at least some of this mess right. I hope they do a better job than their elders did.

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

Me, too, Carol! And hope you enjoyed it down there, Stephanie. Seems like things got pretty excited on Saturday.

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