Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Beautiful Revolution

"OK Amigos: Let's get one thing straight. The Occupy Wall Street protests ARE Peaceful. They are NOT dangerous. They are SAFE. I was there two nights ago when some skirmishes took place with police... a small isolated percentage of the group. This is not the point of the protests and the media will blow it up out of proportion.

The real story is that Zuccatti Park has become a revolutionary labor
atory for people to discuss and eventually act upon rebuilding society from the ground up. Please don't be afraid to come down and participate in these discussions or to demonstrate your own dissatisfaction with the economy, the government, and corporate greed because YOU are a stakeholder in the political process. (I know it's hard to feel this way sometimes).

THIS IS THE MOMENT. DON'T WATCH IT. LIVE IT. I hope to see more familiar faces at the next rally. Let's go together. But come down any time... there'll be a crowd waiting for you... xo" --Steve Ausbury

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty . . . And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." --Thomas Jefferson.

The development of weapons that only the government has possession has has been part of this country's undoing. As long as we, as citizens, could be on even footing with the military, we could've fought for our freedom again in these years of constriction. However, since we don't have that option with any survival, the revolutionaries of the 20th and 21st century have had to revolt with the genius and beauty of nonviolent demonstrations. Unfortunately, while protesters are nonviolent and unarmed, police forces are armed. With that knowledge, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."

I love my life as much as the next person, but I find myself in a bind. I can no longer have the freedom to pursue my own happiness as is to be constitutional right, as I'm a slave to the banks and the medical industry. If, in the pursuit of happiness, I quit my current job that offers health insurance and, while a below median salary, a "livable" wage, I will be threatened with homelessness, and, well, death, as I live with a life-threatening illness that requires daily life-saving medication that is incredibly costly. Along with being personally bound, I work for the university system, a system in which the majority of students will exit with a bachelor's degree and at least $50,000 in debt, making them slaves to big banks, with not much facing them on the job front.

I cannot, in good conscious, not join the Occupy Movement.

Let me point out the fact I've avoided almost all things political for the past ten years or so. I'd been passionate about politics from the time my parents sat me down in front of the television when Richard Nixon resigned. When I was twelve, I read The Hundredth Monkey and planned protests against all things nuclear. That same year, I hosted a carnival to raise funds for endangered species. However, I also grew up feeling terrified of any person in authority. My need for justice usually resulting in my falling into tears any time I tried to stand up for myself.

A combination of intense fear of authority, and the normal distractions of puberty turned me away from politics for a long time. I voted but cared too intensely and so after the United States invaded Afghanistan, my anger rising to new heights, I just shut off my mind to all things political because I literally couldn't function with the emotions it brought up in me. I spent the next ten years without even owning a television and having very little access to a television.

I suppose I've had the grace to mature over the last ten years. For some reason, I haven't had an extreme emotional response to the country's extraordinary inequities. This puts me in the lovely position to act from a place of thoughtfulness and hopefully, grace, when it comes to taking action. I do not know what my role in this movement is meant to be. But I have a voice, I am a writer, and I train writers. And I write plays and produce theater and theater has often played a major role in political action. The Czech Republic was first led by a playwright, Vaclav Havel.

May this movement be one of beauty and grace, and above all, peace. May our arms be our words and our art and our love for our youth and each other. May our love for one another make us the custodians of economic and healthy equality. May this love rise stronger and live longer than greed and fear.

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