Posted 8 years ago on Dec. 17, 2011, 4:36 p.m. EST by NLake72
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Note: This is a letter that will be cc'd to my email list, my facebook list, and it is being posted here, on the OWS forum. It is a document that seeks to address the nation as a whole, and each group that I allude to will sense when I am talking directly to them, in particular. Read these words carefully, or not at all.
After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that all my writing in support of the OWS movement has to be removed. Sadly, this movement, in general, appears to be moving in an anarchistic direction that I can no longer endorse or support. The recent decision by the OWS to disavow the NGA and the document known as the 99% Declaration may indeed be well-founded. However, this is an internal political issue that I don't claim to understand, nor do I seek to address it. I've got better things to think about. However, this latest schism seems indicative of the lack of direction and leadership this movement is experiencing as a whole. Sadly, this lack of mutual endorsement, and seeming lack of trust between these groups, only lends support to my conclusions that the OWS movement, as a whole, and the many various groups within it, seek to push an agenda that is, at best, inscrutable, and at worst destructive to our country. In short, if the occupation movement produces an agenda that I can support, and provides leadership that I trust and respect, I might reconsider my decision to abandon the movement. However, at this time I don't think the OWS is being directed toward a realistic, workable set of solutions to the problems that face our society and our world as as whole.
I firmly believe that our system can be can reformed using the tools provided in the Constitution. We have a legitimate right, as dictated by the founding fathers, to redress a long list of grievances to our increasingly corrupted government. I'm unsure if I will endorse any group at this, or a later time. Like the vast majority of Americans, I think the system is badly broken, and that it is being subverted to “serve the interests of a few.” I don't sense that our politicians feel any vested interest in trying to govern the country, or reform the system in a manner that prioritizes the people's needs. While I have supported the agenda known as the 99% Declaration, I am still hoping for a more perfect document to be created. I certainly don't agree with all of the itemized initiatives, nor can I personally endorse any group promoting it at this time. However, these are timely issues that most certainly deserve a spirited national debate. My personal feelings toward specific items should not hinder the efforts of those wiser than me to argue them, and to bring their full merit to light.
Additionally, I remain convinced that our elected representatives will not address these questions unless the American people, as a whole, stand up and demand them to do so. I had hopes that the OWS would adopt this document, because it represents one agenda that could have served as a standard under which we could collectively gather on common ground, and commit to debate and compromise. It's a list of grievances that should spark a healthy national discussion. It is an imperfect document which deserves to be discussed, expanded, and improved, and ultimately, adopted. It is the best agenda that I've seen to date, but it is, at best, incomplete, and apparently being mishandled. While it is the best document I've seen, I hope something that suits my personal tastes will eventually emerge on the national stage. More particularly, it is my hope that a better effort that appeals to the vast majority of Americans will somehow be created and promoted. Sadly, nobody inside or outside of the movement seems to be undertaking that work in a realistic or organized manner. I'd love to be proven wrong. I've also lost faith that the OWS movement will produce leaders or any other competing agenda which will appeal to the vast majority of Americans. Frankly, I have a personal suspicion that this movement is, in fact, being manipulated by extremists who may have a more sinister agenda of their own-- one which would be highly destructive to the America we know and love today.
My final thoughts are thus: Progressive reforms can be applied to our existing system. But, it's up to us, the citizens, to stand up and demand those changes. The most disturbing part of this experience has been when I've tried to discuss these issues with people in my daily life. Almost every single person has independently produced the exact same quote, which is “I just don't give a shit” which has occasionally been qualified with the statement “There's not much we can do about it, the problems are just too big.” That attitude, seemingly the result of mass hypnosis, is a complete abdication of civic responsibility. It creates a void that is currently being exploited by those who seek to buy and sell our political system, exploit the disaffected, manipulate the financial system as a whole, and shamelessly pollute our environment-- all in the name of personal gain. This void also leaves plenty of room for anarchistic groups who would ultimately endanger our most cherished freedoms and values as a people, either through their own direct actions, or through the heavy-handed police state with which “order and safety” would be reimposed. I don't have the solutions. I have neither the desire nor the resume to be a political leader. But, I will again become involved, enthusiastically, with the OWS movement-- if a solid agenda with serious leadership eventually surfaces.
Sadly, everyone is waiting for someone else to stand up and produce a miracle. That leader, and that agenda aren't likely to emerge from the OWS movement. I have no reason to expect the rest of America to do any better for itself. When “I don't give a shit” is the general consensus of the population, I am forced to respond, with finality, that none of you has any complaint coming to you-- when, and if, our country falls into a further state of decay. It is your lack of personal involvement today, and your utter irresponsibility toward the future that has been the cause of whatever evils befall our country. So, congratulations, “Americans” you are all members of the “I don't give a shit” generation, and history will celebrate you accordingly. From the bottom of my heart, and seat of my pants, I want to personally thank you for demonstrating zero personal initiative, and exhibiting no sense of responsibility for the world in which we live-- and the future to which we will consign our children.
Frankly, maybe the anarchists DO have a point? I remain unconvinced that this is the wisest vehicle for social change, but? If nobody gives a shit? You get what you get, and you don't have any right to complain about it. It's your fault, and nobody else, that this country has no agenda for reform. Maybe violence is the only way to budge the average American off dead center? Perhaps disorder is the only way to make people realize their lives are actually affected by these issues? Maybe the people with the power will only give it up after a long and bloody fight? I refuse to entertain this line of thinking. It is childish, and a waste of time. Hate, which is a prerequisite for such violence, is a waste of mental and emotional energy. Fear and/or chaos cannot serve as a unifying factor among the American people. Violence will only deepen our partisanship, and make peace all that much harder to attain. Hope and love are the only things that will attract Americans to the moral high ground, to assemble under the standard of social reform. Still, perhaps civil disorder is the only viable method to inspire the state of mind required for a true social revolution? Maybe things have to fall apart before people adopt a sense of personal responsibility towards their community? In that event, I may have no other choice but to wait for things to further devolve, naturally, of their own accord, before the average American truly gets fed up. By that point, I may have no other choice but to pick up arms and defend my home and the Constitution-- because I can't see any better system of governance to replace it. And, consider this your only warning: I'm exactly the violent and maniacal bastard with whose Constitution and livelihood you simply don't want to fuck.
I've worked very hard in my personal life to find forgiveness of others, and to banish hate from my heart. However, my Buddhist nature has not been able to scrub away the lingering patina of disgust that stains my concern for the average uninvolved, closed-minded American, and, in turn, those who would avoid the duty of deliberate and responsible critical thinking. Either way, I'm taking a break from the movement. I am forced to admit that I'm equally disheartened and ashamed of my government, and my fellow countrymen. I'm not giving up the struggle. I'm not giving up my quest for a better tomorrow. I just see no point, at this time, to waste another breath, or attach my name to an effort or movement to which I'm not sure I understand, and, thus, can no longer fully endorse. I must part ways, for now, and walk alone on the path to personal enlightenment. While I'm away attending to matters of my soul, I must highly encourage you to get off your asses and really think hard, with a wide open mind, about the world which you intend to leave to our children-- and what obstacles must be swept away in the winds of reform.
For the occupation groups as a whole, I leave this message: Get real. Be realistic. Get yourselves a serious agenda. Find leaders who would promote your cause. Unite behind them. Then, I, and the rest of the silent majority will try very hard to meet you halfway, on common ground, on any day of the week. I'll, personally, seek a way to fight for our common cause, if one is found to exist. This is a philosophical movement, and it is a political movement. You'll have to be patient, and very humble in your political goals. This is a movement that lives or sputters out by virtue of your own hubris.