Monday, 19 March 2012

That Movement Thing

Hi all,

So it's the six month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement and I thought I should reflect on the how it all came about. I have done my best to follow all the details of the movement over the progress.

Truthfully, I believe in the idea of the movement, no matter what problems it might have from a philosophical perspective. It's about the focus of power in society and where it should lie. Sure, it's got a good slogan.

"We are the 99%."

And that's about how the majority wants to be treated by the 1% in power. They feel their voices aren't being heard and this is how they are expressing that frustration. Feelings aren't something that are easy to get rid of. Particularly feelings of anger, frustration and pain. Everyone knows this, but they're also the most confused by these same feelings. When these feelings mix with power, they can be even harder to sort out.

But the truth of the matter is that power has always been disproportionate. It's the nature of power. In order to have a power structure at all, it can't always rest in a group. Someone has to be in charge, and for that to happen you have to trust a small group with the power to make decisions for a larger group. That doesn't mean that they will always make the right decision. In fact, it's often the case that not everyone will be happy with all the decisions being made. To paraphrase a quote by Abraham Lincoln...

"You can please some of the people most of the time, and most of the people some of the time, but you can't please everyone all the time."

As a group, decisions have to be made and on universal issues it's appropriate to get a group consensus.

How do we want to be treated by the government? How do we want to be treated by the police? Doctors? Other people? What do we want done when we aren't treated the way we want?

Usually the answer is, we want to be treated with respect and dignity. The major problem is, what constitutes respect and dignity?  When those universal questions get answered, then the question becomes how do we implement those answers? And that's when it's important to have people in charge with power. Someone has to make decisions about where the line is drawn between respect and dignity, and the violation of that respect and dignity.

It's when that violation occurs that problems arise, and when it happens too much, that's when things like Occupy Wall Street happen.

And maybe that seems like an obvious thing to say, but I thought I should establish the way I view the world as a way to establish why I think things like Occupy Wall Street movement are important and should happen. I wish they didn't have to happen, but they do.

Because democracy is built on an expression of feelings. Sometimes expressing those feelings isn't nice or progress building, but it's important. Bottling things up can be as problematic.

People need to express those feelings, whether it's through the Occupy movement, or the Tea Party movement. Both of those movements are expressions of feelings of frustration and pain. They may be on different sides of the political spectrum, and I don't always agree with those political views but I make it a point to at least understand where they are coming from.

It's important to know that about me. I believe in seeing all sides of an issue even if I don't agree with all sides. That way, I don't feel like I'm just railing against people who don't agree with me. In fact, it makes having conversations with people all the more interesting because I can usually take opposing opinions in a conversation.

It can be a lot of fun, but also cause a lot of problems when it comes to relating to people.

But I think that's the thing that opponents of the Occupy and Tea Party movement don't do. They attack their position, saying that all they are doing is yelling and screaming about injustice without really knowing what the issues are. Although I'm sure that there are those in the movements that don't really understand the issue, but there wouldn't be any movements if there wasn't a problem worth addressing and there weren't those that understand and feel strongly about the issue to start a movement in the first place.

And that's something that is worth understanding.

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