The Occupy movement is an overtly non-political, political process. Politics is not just about party whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green, or Workers, it really has to do with how decisions are made. Occupy wants decisions to be made by the people…the 99%. Of course, that is an overly simplistic statement, but it is in essence true. The movement is made up of a broad range of interests and perspectives. At its core, however, is the idea that people want to have a say in how they are governed and at a minimum want to be heard and acknowledged as having the right to be heard. These are words that I basically said on the first day of the Occupy Bangor encampment.
During the past several weeks the media has had a somewhat conflicted relationship with the Occupy movement. Because the movement is not a single issue or single event, it is difficult to report accurately or succinctly. Some in the Occupy camp feel that they are not being represented well in the media. Sometimes the media want the sound-bite or the quote for the article and are not seeking the overall perspective. Sometimes the Occupy folks want that sound-bite or quote. There is some reciprocal ‘using’ going on by both sides.
The government – the establishment – is also in a difficult spot. What the Occupy folks want most of all is change to the establishment from the way things are now. Since the government is the reality of the way things are now, it feels unappreciated. It feels that it must provide for the safety and security of the community; it feels that sometimes that security is infringed upon by the Occupy movement. There is some validity to these concerns, just as there is a need for change – for equity, for justice, for jobs.
At the core of all of this is the humanity of everyone…and for Unitarian Universalists one of their core principles is the worth and dignity of all humans. When we gather together in any venue we need to acknowledge our common humanity and then listen (LISTEN), trying for some level of understanding of perspectives, seeking common ground, seeking the place of our common, mundane, but, oh so sacred, humanity. And, this sacred humanity is very evident in the Occupy movement.
My son (of whom I am very proud, but then aren’t most moms proud of their children?) lives and works in southernCalifornianearIrvine. He is an avid photographer as well as advocate of progressive (but, oh he really hates to be labeled) causes. About two weeks ago my son agreed to take photographs of Occupy Irvine’s march to several banking institutions. He did so and has donated much of his photography for their use. This week he put together a slide show of various people at Occupy Irvine. This post on his photoblog caused me to write this posting because as I viewed his 24 images I was impressed with the humanity expressed therein. There is diversity, but even more there appears to be a universality.
The link to his blog is: http://marcperkins.photoshelter.com/gallery-slideshow/G0000HT89x2vDvWg/?start=
Take a look and consider what we have in common with each of them…a great deal I think. Even though they are three thousand miles away, they similarly reflect the humanity of Occupy Bangor or Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Oakland.
We are the 99%.