Social Justice is an Enduring Christian Ethic:

Educated. Employed. Insured. Concerned. #OWS

Observing and Accompanying Occupy Asheville: 23 October 2011.  |  The 99, Culture of Camping Under A Bridge, Community, Media, & Taxpayers.  |  My Assessment, Diagnosis & Prescription:

Back in 2011, when I was in Asheville, NC with my wife (who was attended a training class).  I wasn’t planning anything special, because I was behind on my reading and seem to always have paperwork to do.  I wrote a blog post and enjoyed some carrot juice at Earthfare and then drove back to Greenlife Grocery so that I’d be closer to my wife’s class.  That’s when I noticed the protestors.

I parked nearby at a convenience store, bought an extra case of water, and walked to the Occupy Asheville welcome center.  Surprisingly, all the donations are being logged into a register, and I was told they will be uploaded to the website on a “Thank You” page.

I didn’t have much free time, and most of the protestors were dispersed at nonviolence training while I was there, but I was able to chat briefly with enough people to form some opinions and further develop my own conclusions.

These thoughts are mine: 

Remember, these thoughts are mine and I tend to have an opinion on almost everything so please find a quiet space and think these things through for yourself.

 

I’ve been continuously educated for my entire life.  I am gainfully employed, insured by a major medical plan that has no dollar limit on care, and yet I am concerned about the trend in our country.  I support the Occupy Movement.

Support:

Support is coming from everywhere and donations are being tracked.  I added my name and a description of my donation to a nearly full register of donations.  The “vibe” of this gathering is very calm, and elegant.  The tent city is situated under a bridge that has beautifully decorated with modern “street art” and the view from a distance is one that emanates peace.

Inclusion: There’s Room for Everyone’s Opinions

Most of the protestors were involved in break-out meetings when I was at the event, but I did have a pleasant conversation with a gentleman holding a sign that promoted his cause: The Zeitgeist Movement.  {For the record, I think some of this circular logic about utopian future is unattainable.}  One might think that the Zeitgeist folks wouldn’t need to join up with the Occupy people, but I was surprised to learn that there are many aligned beliefs.  The Zeitgeist guy talked about the issues we have as a nation with commerce, the factory system, workers rights, and the profit system.  His examples of the failure of American society were engaging and his brochures were available for free.  What would you expect someone promoting a Utopian vision for America to look like?  This one was a fifty something US Postal worker.

Another conversation I was able to listen in on, involved some planning for future training on sustainability and environmentalism.  This is Asheville.  I’m not disappointed to learn that these protestors are concerned about these things, nor am I surprised that they are willing to share what they have to others for free.

As I walked through the tent city, located under dual bridges, it occurred to me that the vibe was entirely serene and there were signs everywhere.  The signs tell a story all their own, and as they say…numbers don’t lie.

Talking with a final protestor, I learned that the latest challenges the group faced were bad PR and the Highway Department.  Essentially, the Occupy group was offered a barricade by the city and later they were snubbed in the media for accepting it because it cost the taxpayers over $100,000.  Here we see a typical example of the role of society to taint a peaceful movement by painting it into a corner.

Government asks, “Would you like a free barricade?”

You respond, “Of course, because no one here wants to get hit by a car.”

Media propagandizes it, “Do you see how much this protest is costing the taxpayers?”

 

When I asked about the media, I was told they’d been down to see the protest but they really haven’t covered the story.  Additionally the transportation department was now addressing safety concerns with the protest.  Strange that it would suddenly become a concern after so many days.

 

It’s no secret that organized society disdains everything about protest.

Naturopathic Perspective & Assessment: Cancer is a disease of affluence.

A protest means that a segment of the populace disagrees with the “norm.”  I think that the Occupy Protests are a Cancer of Community and Country.  The problems that have caused the protests must be resolved or the protests will never end.  This is essentially what cancer is, and why it is so difficult to stop.  {I do not mean to imply that society’s disease is incurable, but rather (like cancer) the situation is dire and only an intense change can repair the damage that has led to this outcome.}

 

Cancer is a disease of environment, and the fact that we have spent a hundred years building a society that caters to the few, elite, untouchable while largely ignoring the cries of the weak, sick, and desperate among our people has securely entrenched a bitterness inside our citizens to eventually stand up, speak, out and scream that the system is broken.  Now, we reap the whirlwind of fury that past generations mortgaged and passed the buck to some future day…this has become that day.

 

From the beginning, I have supported the Occupy movement…and clarified my position that I do not believe the issues of the day can be addressed by a protest of singularity.  A plethora of corruption exists in every facet of America, with a concentration in the corners that hold the majority of the power.  Too many things are broken for one protest to correct them.  Too many issues exist for one vote to change them.  Politicians do not listen to their constituents.  We are all disenfranchised by the special interests who have hijacked our representative government.  Wealth is not synonymous with evil, but power tends to corrupt and absolute power; as they say, corrupts absolutely.  With an aristocratic class of the most wealthy in America essentially living above the law, I think maybe we have finally crossed that invisible line in the sand.  It started in the churches with the richest, most untouchable leaders falling in disgrace.  In the end, we’ve forgotten that they were placed on the pedestals by those who worshipped them and the same applies to all of us that believed in the American experiment as making us a superior people.  Wealth requires responsibility, and our land has long lost any of that virtue.

 

Occupy represents that splinter in the back of every politician’s mind.  There’s always been a fear that the people en-masse might rise up and scream that the system is unjust, corrupt, broken, and ineffective.  The empire has no jobs because it doesn’t care about the people anymore.

 

Fair Trade is a virtue when you buy a cup of coffee, but a “living-wage” conversation will never be debated by any of your political representatives because neither political party will risk the discussion that minimum wage laws are inadequate.  Can’t you hear Rush asking, “Exactly how much should be pay someone to insult us when they ask us if we want fries with that?”  The fact remains, that some companies (Starbucks for example) have already taken on some of societies biggest issues (healthcare is offered to part-time employees) and still managed to pay higher wages than their competitors in the same field of business. Sure, the coffee’s more expensive, but it “tastes” better without that bitter flavor of human slavery (foreign and domestic), right?

 

No one wants the Occupy protests to continue, but they will…because the situation demands it, and even if there are momentary lapses of coverage, the movement will only die when the country is healed.

Diagnosis: More than meets the eye.

Within the Occupy camps, there are thousand of entrenched leaders.  They are not afraid to be arrested, and some of them doubtless are willing to die for their beliefs.  I dare not ask you to believe the way they do, for most readers are not nearly brave enough to tread those waters…especially if you don’t agree with what they stand for in the first place.

 

The world is filled with problems.  They must be addressed, and we are ready for the challenge.  No one else is coming, and if we are to have a better tomorrow we are the ones who have to get active today.  The sickness in society can’t be suppressed much longer, and the only cure is a successful evolution: permanent societal improvement.

 

At issue in every city, is the fact that the protestors are now being met with police brutality and disrespect: these are citizens, not criminals.  (Imagine what you’d do if these were rallies that your church organized.)  Did you attend Washington for Jesus?  What if there were tear gas grenades launched there at your children’s feet?  What if there were attempts to make your movement look ignorant by every single media outlet?

 

Corporations would do well to look within these camps for their next managers and leaders.  There are intelligent people who need employment among the Occupy crowd, and I think they could make your company and our world a better place for all.

Prescription: Leadership cannot be hidden.

Leaders inside the entrenched campsites are working to teach nonviolence, hone their negotiation skills, refine their intellects, and prioritize future actions.  All of this is happening while the movements are working to maintain financial accountability.

 

Will they succeed?  I suspect that there will be numerous hiccups along the way, because we Americans always overcomplicate things.  It should be a simple journey from absolute corporate corruption to complete transparency, yet that’s not likely going to be the way things unfold.

Looking Forward: Order and Honor Are Only Found In the Trenches.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing demonstrations and riots on television from all across the globe.  Dictators were oppressing their people, and the blood ran freely in the streets.  I remember the Iranian hostage crisis that ended just before President Reagan took the oath of office.  I remember the Berlin Wall coming down.  I remember being slowly conditioned by the media to sympathize for the protestors.  The riots in the street were happening because the people had a God given right to express themselves that was being unfairly suppressed by their evil overlords:  evil governments that should embrace Democracy, wicked leaders that should show compassion for the citizens of their land, and what they were demonstrating “for” was the very thing that we as US citizens held as a sacred right.  We as Americans had the right to freedoms of speech and public assembly, so nothing like that would ever happen here.  One day when the dictators were slain, the world would be safe for everyone to live in peace and Democracy.

 

Fast forward: Egypt now stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protestors because they have progressed toward freedom further, faster.  The media continuously seeks to discredit the protestors because they don’t have a singular issue.  The talking heads largely ignore or poke fun at the Occupy positions while they continue to spread, police begin to invoke illegal authority, and protestors are physically harmed by the police.

 

This is not my beloved America, and I’m not going to pretend that everything’s OK.

I cannot condone or understand the cowardice of these law enforcement officers.

I cannot stand beside her while she exhibits unconscionable collusion with greed.

She is becoming a monster, and the greatest threats always come from within.

 

The Occupy Protesters are not terrorists, they are patriots.

They are not standing in a posture of entitlement.

Theirs is a position of responsibility.

 

They stand in stark contrast to the police who act as if they are beyond legal restraint.

An honorable nation would never do this to her citizens: this is not Tiananmen Square.

This revolution will not be intimidated, because Americans do not back down.

The revolution will not be confined to one city, one issue, one demand, one political party, one race, color, creed, or religion.

 

Unless the President does his job and defends our Constitution, our nation will crumble.

There are no business hours on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

Consider the Occupy Protests a vote of no confidence.

No specific demands are necessary.

 

It doesn’t matter what the protesters stand for, and it doesn’t matter if you agree.

American citizens have a RIGHT to stand up, speak out and protest.

Citizen protesters have a right to protection.

 

We are all Occupy Wall Street.

We will Occupy Every Street.

We are all Scott Olsen.

 

Empower.

Improve.

Occupy.

Until…

DrDIY is a food-safety professional with an extensive sanitation background within the food & beverage manufacturing industry. He consults on food-safety - from hygienic-design to integrated pest-management through microbiology support, quality improvement audits, total-process management philosophy, CIP optimization, and lean-six-sigma project participation.

Overcoming an extended disability through a complete overhaul of diet and nutrition, DrDIY embraced traditional naturopathy and combined the wisdom of nature with the principles of modern sanitation to help build more sustainable systems within the food industry. He continues to study and practice holistic nutrition, food-safety, detoxification, and self-improvement and this site represents personal experience and opinion - and does not reflect the position of any employer past or present.

His posts have always been a 'stream of consciousness' montage with occasional ventures into Christology and pop culture, just to keep things interesting.

Please take note: Great conversation involves many ingredients - including disagreement or healthy-conflict. I may delete comments that are illegal, offensive or off-topic, obscene, fraudulent or misleading, deceptive or property of others. Respectfully articulated differing perspectives are always welcome.