Occupy My Thoughts. Occupy My Feelings. Occupy My Life.Posted: October 14, 2011
These days it is hard to think of anything else other than Occupy Wall Street. The feeds on Facebook alone are a running dialogue on the events down there. The temperament has spread across the country. The main motivation: we are all broke.
Being broke has been a continuous state of affairs for me, especially since 2009 when fortunes in the agency I was working, began to fall. We still maintain an existence in our respective home offices, but the writing has been on the wall for some time. Clients do not have budgets anymore. And those that do, are slashing them. This is all an outgrowth of a situation that originated with the banking carpetbaggers. They have been wiping everything clean. At least that is what it looks like. There have been foreclosures, factory closings, out-of-this-world unemployment, broken healthcare, closed hospitals, failing schools, war, middle class poverty and the list can go on and on. It is a world wide global crisis.
I have watched documentary after documentary giving us different angles on the situation. Inside Job showed how this was a deliberate action on the part of wealthy bankers and corporate leaders to tip the scales in their own favor. It illustrated how they manipulated policy to do this. Capitalism: A Love Story did the same but appealed to the emotional impact of it all. What is important to view on Capitalism’s DVD are the small films included with the disk. One which has given me the idea of getting abandoned property in my own neighborhood for community use. A project that was started in Flint, MI and recently has spread to Cleveland. We have watched Casino Jack and the United States of Money which gives you a clue into the mentality of greed that is at the heart of all this. There are so many films on the subject that if I watch them all, I will go into a permanent state of depression.
This has all been ignited because of the reports that Mr. Bloomberg wanted to evict the occupiers this morning, in order to “clean up” Zucotti Park. Anyone with a brain knows that this was a tactic to end the occupation and the demonstrators would find themselves in a brawl. Physically removed. What it did do, was rally people all over the city who ran down there in the middle of the night to support the occupiers. It got a petition signed by many of our local congressmen and council members who support the protest. It started an impromptu march down Broadway. This is a fight against greed. A distinctly human quality which goes against the laws of the preservation of humanity. And this is only the beginning.
In my inbox this morning was an apology letter from Citibank about their recent announcement of increased fees. They are trying to clarify, but I think the banks are beginning to feel the pressure of the public outcry and it needs to be stepped up. On November 5 there will be a “Move your Money” Day. This in accordance with Guy Fawkes Day which celebrates the famous British protesters who tried to blow up the House of Lords. The concept has been embodied by the graphic novel and film, V for Vendetta which tells the story of a modern day guerilla who uses the historical moment to wage an action of civil unrest which unseats an evil Prime Minister.
I did not really feel a need to weigh in on any of this until one of the teachers spoke to me this morning. She had just come back from Wall Street to stand in unison with the occupiers. I have a strong feeling for all of this. We live in an unjust world. The crooks get to play while we scramble around fighting for food scraps. A picture of a bratty child taking all the toys and declaring to the other children “they’re mine!”
But I am also reminded by a story of a spiritual leader whom I knew when I was young. Christopher Freemantle was my first teacher, and was a living example of what a man could be. He moved and spoke with grace, while a light emanated from his eyes. I met him 3 years before he passed away. The story that comes to mind was of a young man who was speaking with Christopher. He was telling him all about his life problems. About his children, his business, his family etc. Christopher stood in silence just letting the young man speak. And then he responded, “Justice? You mean someone told you there was such a thing?”
I am left with that and the feeling that we do have laws though. But we should not be naive. The only way to have any satisfaction on these carpetbagging criminals, is to take away the whole system. Make money obsolete. And the only way that is going to happen in this lifetime, is to give up our individualistic selfish notions, and work together to form a new kind of community. And that is hard work. What this economic downturn is doing for us is leaving us no other choice.
When I arrived back home this morning from dropping my son off at school, I had the intense urge to go back to the drawing board, literally. All I want to do these days is draw. Everything else seems unimportant. I have spent a life where it was pounded into my brain how impractical this is. But now, at middle age, it is the only thing that has any significance to me. My creative spirit is my gift to the world. And ignoring it feels like a crime. With that, it is time to go. Keep the faith.