Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupying Forces?

For the past few years we've been told that the Tea Party has controlled the agenda in the nation.  And the 2010 election, at least in levels other than the US Senate, the Tea Party made inroads and seems to be controlling the agenda of the Republican Party, whether the party elders like it or not.  This phenomenon seems to have arisen shortly after President Obama took office, even before he had time to do much of anything.  Although he has been the focus of their ire, they seem to have been indiscriminate in their anger.

Now, we have the Occupy Wall Street movement that seems to be taking root across the country and some in the Democratic Party seem to be courting it -- perhaps as a leftward version of the Tea Party.  Thus, even as the Republicans sought to make use of the Tea Party (and may not have control of it), the Democrats see this movement of anger as fitting their needs.  Maybe it will, but from what I'm hearing and reading there is little coherent philosophy, other than anger toward those in control of the economy/finances.  

Being a progressive Christian leader (if you will grant that as a pastor I'm a religious leaders), I have been courted by the movement.  But, I'm still not sure what to make of it.  There appears to be no clear ideology or plan emerging.  Although the Tea Party is a rather variegated group, they did seek to take control of elections.  Will this group use their organizing skills to help elect more socially responsive candidates or will they simply protest?  If the latter, is this enough?

I guess you might call me an interested observer who is skeptical of the aims of the movement.  If it ends up organizing people to work for the common good of all, then great.  If its just a protest movement that's content to protest, then is it doing any good?  Is it forcing leaders to work together toward creating good paying jobs?  Protect the environment?  (and what does that mean?)   Work toward ending military adventurism?  Extending civil rights to marginalized persons?  Or is it something else?  

So, I welcome your comments.  Not just whether you support or don't support this movement, but why you think it has the potential to change the discourse in our country (not just in Washington).  I think it's time to face the fact that what's happening in Washington is really a symptom of what's taking place in our own communities!

4 comments:

Brian said...

My understanding is that the goal was first to establish settlements. This has been done. I believe there are movers and shakers who unofficially provide guidance and direction. I know they have what are called "General Assemblies" where they speak and listen to one another for info and suggestions.

If it is just a protest, that is sufficient. In the name of the Risen Christ, we can be a public witness for economic equality. This in itself is Christian witness. It can become more than that, but it is a morphing work in progress.

The nature of such a social phenomenon does not lend itself to having stated goals at the beginning, but by emerging from the grassroots. To have clearly stated goals prior to a social movement would make it difficult to gather critical mass (IMO).

The most striking thing to me is how the media and powers that be tried to ignore it. When that didn't work they tried to discredit it. (Just like in the 30's and 60's.)

There is a popular chant at protests that goes as follows: "Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like." Let me suggest for this discussion an alteration: "Show me what the Risen Christ looks like. This is what the Risen Christ looks like."

Brian said...

Following Note: Jon Stewart addressed the criticisms from some elected officials who were trying to discredit this by saying it is unruly and has no clear point or message. He pointed out the hypocrisy of such leaders. Why do we expect people who are not trained in government to show more discipline and clarity of goals than we do the elected officials who are supposed to be our leaders?

In other words, there is no cohesive plan in Washington, just constant campaigning.

Brian said...

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-5-2011/parks-and-demonstration

Above is the link to the Jon Stewart piece I mentioned. It runs about 10 minutes.

TEENAGERS: DO NOT WATCH THIS. MATURE CONTENT. I REPEAT. DO NOT WATCH THIS.

David said...

Thanks for the link.
This changes the political dynamic.

Occupy Detroit is right now. I hope it's peaceful. Obama's in town today, I hope he stays away. We had prior commitments or we probably would have been there. Heck, I joined people on the street early in the war(s) with signs a few times.

We'll have to wait for "Occupy the US" later.

Thanks for the link. Those cannabis pants, are they like hair shirts?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilice