Friday, December 30, 2011

Occupy: a Lamentation

I have been watching and following the Occupy movement in America this fall and even participated a couple of times in my home town activities.  I have been thinking more of this lately and have been troubled by the criticism that the movement doesn't have a clear goal - a single message.  The criticism didn't resonated as valid with me but I couldn't articulate why.  

I think I have finally figured out why this objection to the movement didn't work for me.  It appears to me that we are in the early stages of protest - we are still in the lament.  Before anything is changed one must recognize that there is a problem.  Before you go to the doctor you must acknowledge the pain.  I am no theologian but I am a spiritual person and I recognized that I had heard this refrain before.  It finally registered for me that this is much like what the Hebrews expressed in the Book of Lamentations.
Lamentations 1:11 (NIV)

11 All her people groan 
   as they search for bread; 
they barter their treasures for food 
   to keep themselves alive. 
Look, LORD, and consider, 
   for I am despised.”

It would appear that we are just now starting to vocalize the lament and declaring the pain that so many of us are experiencing.  This is the necessary first step to change.

It is only by coming together in our pain and suffering that we will be able to move on to the next step of change - correction.  We don't know for sure where that next step will take us but we are starting to realize that the step must be taken.  

This is why I can support the Occupy Movement even when so many want to dismiss it because there is no clear, sound bite message.  "No direction, no plan" is the argument.  Well, there is a clear message - our people are in pain.  Too many of our people are being left behind as this country of ours moves forward and I cannot accept that.  I cannot accept that people are without jobs when companies are showing record cash surpluses.  I cannot accept that people who have worked all of their lives and contributed to their  retirement plans and paid their Social Security taxes for 40 and 50 years are being told that their will be nothing for them when their time comes.

We are living in very difficult times for our country and for all of us on this planet.  I don't claim to have the answers - I must leave that to greater minds, but I do know that we must do something.  That is what the Occupy protests are saying to me.  That is the message.

My hope and my prayer is that the voices will be heard and action will be taken.

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