The thing is, at least for me, I don’t want to talk endlessly about the weather or that cute new shirt you got on sale, so I’ll take my chances on offending someone and/or being offended by their views. Abortion, capital punishment, war, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green Partiers, Tea Partiers, taxes, terrorists, bailouts, immigration, Christianity, Catholicism, spirituality, unemployment, school vouchers, race relations, gay marriage, health care, education, labor unions, outsourcing, censorship, ecology, animal rights, irradiated food, organic food, junk food, smoking, spanking children, the military, crime, the prison system, medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, stem cell research, high fructose corn syrup, and liar-liar-pants-on-fire people. I have opinions on all of those topics, and more. As long as someone is capable of conducting themselves respectfully, I am completely willing and even eager to engage in conversations about pretty much any subject, whether or not that person and I see things the same way.
One of the most interesting stories in the news right now, in my opinion, is Occupy Wall Street and the movement that it has spurred. People—regular people—have reached the point of utter frustration with the way things are and instead of just griping to one another on Facebook, they’re leaving their houses, standing up, speaking out, and refusing to back down. Now I don’t care what you believe, that has to move you.
It’s been a good long time since this sort of thing happened here in any sizable way. To be frank, I thought that American gumption had been replaced by complacency, impotence, and resignation—sometimes blatant and occasionally covered by a thin veneer of feeble flag-waving.
America is alive! Well, I’ll be damned.
If you are interested in learning more about the movement, you can read a variety of opinions and takes on the topic with just a few clicks. The information changes daily, so rather than providing you with a bunch of links, I recommend that you head over to your favorite search engine and poke around a bit. You might want to read the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, that while currently a work-in-progress, does a pretty fine job of addressing some of the big issues that need attention and action. I actually love that it’s being called a ‘living document,’ because that acknowledges that it is a start, but by no means a comprehensive list of where we need to improve, and allows for growth, change, and solutions.
The balance has been off in America for as long as I can remember, and I’ll turn 50 before the end of this year. That’s a long time for things to be out of whack, and as we all know, in life, one thing truly does lead to another, so it’s wise to do all that you can to be sure that the ‘one thing’ is a good one. Right track or dangerous slope, things tend to keep on moving and they usually pick up speed along the way.
I love seeing the faces in the crowds that are gathering and growing all over the country. Young ones—the generation that many adults dismiss as lazy under-achievers—are well-represented, as are the middle aged and those who have earned more than a few wrinkles. Great faces. Famous faces and everyman ones. All there, all outraged, and all demanding change. In attendance—each and every one—to remind those of us who might have forgotten that real power does not lie with our public officials, credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and lawmakers. The power lies with us, America’s citizens, and from the look of things, we are here to reclaim it.
Written for this week's GBE topic: Balance.