Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Reflect Upon My Own Reaction to OWS.

Well, clearly, the Occupy Wall Street folks have been able to get under my skin lately.  My thoughts, words, and tone regarding them has not always been up to Christian standards, for which I am sorry.  I am reflecting upon how I can do better, and upon why my reaction to this and the related protests has been so strong, so visceral.

In my defense, these people do sorely tempt me.  Take, for example, this blurb from the front of their web page:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions.
Look, you dolts, there are only 2 genders:  male and female.  Well, I guess neuter is a gender also, which may explain a lot about OWS.  Look, there I go again.

I think much of my reaction has to do with the fact that I tried to be a hippie myself.  (I failed; I was not able to overcome the Protestant Work Ethic instilled in me by my dad.)  This blog entry about my acid-drenched trip to a No Nukes rally back in 1979 will help you understand the old hippie me from which I have escaped.  I was actually on Wall St. that day, too, ironically.  I know what demonic lies I believed when I was in that state, and part of my anger at the Wall St. hippies is their seduction of many people with those same lies.

Part of my frustration stems from the fact that a leaderless, nearly directionless movement like this is impossible to critique.  Every time some hippie defecates on a police car or on an American flag, my Leftist friends on FaceBook chime in to tell me that these people are not representative of the movement.  Likewise, when any of the hippies says something incredibly stupid, I am not allowed to count this against the movement as a whole, for no one person speaks for the movement.  It is a baffling and unnerving exercise to battle against such a chaotic, fluid, inconsistent, and formless foe.

Another facet to my anger is that this sort of thing is forcing me to become political again, which is a thing I hate.  I used to like it, getting involved in Texas and Michigan Republican Party politics.  But eventually it came to bore me to tears.  I no longer like to ruffle feathers, or talk politics with anyone.  I don't think that I have ever convinced anyone of my point-of-view in any political discussion.  I know that it is possible to change minds and hearts, but it has long seemed to me that this sort of change (which is sorely needed today!) comes through the Holy Ghost, and not so much through human talking and reasoning.  My own conversion from a young man who twice voted for Jimmy Carter (oh, the shame!) to being a die-hard Republican came more as a result of reading the Bible than from any human agency.

Political upheaval is inconvenient for me at this time.  I am trying to recover from my own economic folly (scarily parallel to that of our nation as a whole), and the entire political discussion right now takes my time and energy away from that.  But it is probably a sin (selfishness) for me to feel this way.  However, thinking about politics depresses me.  I clawed and scraped my way out of depression earlier in the year, and I know I am happier just getting on with normal life, and sidelining myself from the political game.  I don't know how possible that will be for me, since we are only 13 months out from a major election.

And about my economic folly ... it is easy to see and loathe the sins of others.  It is child's play to critique OWS or We Are the 99 Percent.  Their sins are many and obvious.  But what of my own sin?  My covetousness has been ruinous.  I am greedy.  Perhaps I should rejoice that people are out there with signs protesting greed.  Perhaps they should actually be massing in front of my house, for I am the chief of sinners, worse than any Wall St. pirate.  These protests, then, force me to confront my own sin, the many places where I have failed my family, church, and community.  Where I have failed my Savior.  The entire sad parade just makes me so sad for all of humanity, in our degradation, stupidity, and sin.

Part of me tries very hard to love Occupy Wall Street.  I want it to be like my imagination of the civil rights, anti-war, and other protests of the 1960s:  colorful, self-sacrificing innocents parading without a license", as in this groovy Ultimate Spinach song:

I saw a funny freak parade, marching down the street.
They were acting very strange, kissing everbody they meet.
Bananas hanging out of their ears, daffodils in their hands.
Someone asked, "What's happening here?"
A fat policemen's getting uptight, 'cause they're pelting him with flowers.
He knows they smell very sweet, but his face is very sour. 
He wants to bust the whole company, but he really doesn't know why. 
Maybe it's because they act kind free ... who knows?
But it's not like that.  It totally mischaracterizes this sort of hippie protest.  And maybe that is at the very bottom of my dissatisfaction with these protests:  they destroy my childhood imagination of things.