Preoccupied with Wall Street

Personally, I think that the Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) “resistance” is simply an expression of people’s frustration with their lack of control. My concerns with the movement are multifold but I also think that it is not something that should be totally ignored either. Maybe there is something to be learned here…

To date, I haven’t yet heard a single speech from the #OWS numbers that has shown much of a purpose. Yes, they are against corporate greed. Yes, they want corrupt politicians to step down. Yes, they like to make outlandish statements like:

“Neoliberalism is everywhere, gutting labor standards, living wages, social contracts, and environmental protections. It is ‘a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money’”.

The #OWS folks believe that we must usher in an era of democratic and economic justice, we must change, we must evolve.

That’s great and all but my question is what is your end game with the protesting?
Has nobody thought this through?

Do the #OWS people think that corporate heads are going to hand over their billions of dollars and walk out into the streets and say: “sorry folks – we were wrong – you take over.”

Do the #OWS people really expect all of the corrupt politicians to leave their offices proclaiming: “Here you disgruntled 19 yr. old, you do my job” Or “Here you go unemployed 35 year old, you be president for awhile.” If all of our corrupt politicians left their jobs right now the government would shut down.

And how do the #OWS folks define democratic and economic justice anyway? My guess is that we might not all agree on what those terms mean. So then, what is it that we should change exactly? Or are they just complaining to complain? Is the intent to just yell a lot for a few weeks and then go home? Do people just want us to know that they aren’t satisfied with the way things in the world are? If so, I say get in line.

Personally, I am not in favor of protesting if there are no concrete demands presented ahead of time. To my #OWS peeps – you really need to get it together and figure out what you are doing because right now you are just disrupting people who are working. Heck, give me a call even and I’d be happy to give you some pointers. I’d be happy to help develop some productive places to start.

All that being said I think there are some things that we all should take note of as it can offer some insight into our current state of existence:

1.) #OWS shows that people are definitely frustrated.
Fortunately – they are peacefully protesting. Yes, they are hurting the local economy
and they are contributing to a lot of unnecessary web activity during work hours (I’m sure big-business is reeling) but they are trying to be good and clean up after themselves while vocalizing their frustrations. While at times this kinda feels like another rendition of the Muppets Take Manhattan – public frustration and discord should not be down- played. A sincere thank you to the #OWS people who are seeking to keep things peaceful.

2.) #OWS shows that people are desperately seeking something better in life than the next episode of Glee. It also shows that there are a lot of people that have nothing better to do. I don’t write that sarcastically. A lot of #OWS people are unemployed, homeless, bored with college etc. The truth is people want more to this life then what they are currently being offered.

3.) #OWS shows that people are willing to work together to change things. Yes, they still need a plan – no doubt – but I almost find it more impressive that people will stand around together chanting and what not even with no specific goal. Also, the #OWS folks are proving pretty effective at communication using social media and the human bullhorn effect:

4.) #OWS shows that pretty much all Americans are sick of the current state of politics in our country. People want better options then what they have. Hey #OWS folks – I just turned 35 so give me a call – I’d be up for a mass write-in Presidential bid. I’d be sure to come up with some sweet Presidential slogan like: “The Rent’s Too Damn High!” – Darn, that’s already been done! Admittedly, I don’t have the sweet chops-stash or karate skills of Jimmy McMillian. That being said, what other politicians are out there – that are running for the Presidency – that the American people are really rallying behind right now? Benek write-in in 2012, consider it.

5.) #OWS shows that people don’t like their money being taken from them. In this case it’s big business. I would be interested to know if the #OWS folks feel the same way about big-government as well. Additionally, I have not seen any indication that the #OWS folks intend to stop using the products of big business so again, what is the point? I mean at least stop giving them your money if you are mad that they are so rich!

Truth be told, I blame this whole global economic and US political crisis stuff on me. Yep, all of America’s problems are Chris Benek’s fault, well sorta. I am to blame but so are you. Personal responsibility and community accountability have gone out the window in this country. As a society we do what we want and we care little for the people we hurt as long as we get what we want. We educate ourselves to behave this way. We sold ourselves into materialism and now we are going to pay the price, and brothers and sisters I am here to tell you it’s going to hurt and the people who are going to suffer the most are the truly vulnerable. And I believe that we have a responsibility to help those in genuine need.

In, my personal opinion, a lot of this mess has arisen out of the church universal’s inability to inculcate Loving values into people in ways that are effective and meaningful. We’ve failed this country miserably and my hope is that people will hear that call and, instead of spending their time on Wall Street they will reoccupy the church – and seek to serve their brothers and sisters in Love. This would be a great opportunity for the #OWS folks to unify, serve and continue to communicate in ways that have tangible and meaningful outcomes.

In short, a lot more could be accomplished if people would Un-occupy Wall Street and allow Christ to occupy their heart. Occupy a few pews and, working together, a lot more positive things will get done than this current public preoccupation.