I’d like to take a moment to clarify some misconceptions once and for all. If you are an Occupy hater I’m going to respectfully ask you to read this all the way through before commenting. If you don’t, and I can tell, your comments will be zapped.
In the past few weeks I have been accused of hating the following: work, money, capitalism, people who have more money than me, technology, (odd since I am not using smoke signals to communicate this message) industry and Canada.
I have been accused of laziness, working too hard for a pointless cause, wrecking a public park, being a hypocrite for refusing to sleep in said park, stupidity and hyperintellectualism.
Screw all of that.
Due to the diversity of people participating in this cause and their various concerns, it is very difficult to speak for the entire collective. To me it is fairly clear what we are aiming for and why.
No matter who you are I’m betting that at least once you’ve complained about the government. It is clear to many of us that our leaders by and large do not care about the average citizen. They cater to corporations whose interests are in profits at the cost of humans.
That is definitely a sweeping statement. There are many members of various levels of government who do care and there are corporations who deal ethically.
However, we are largely unprotected from the ones who don’t care. They prey upon our psychology to encourage us to wastefully consume products which are low in quality and very possibly made by people who are being exploited and severely underpaid. Who here is not aware that “made in China” usually means “made in a sweatshop?”
How much credit card debt are you going to rack up this holiday season on items you will discard by the end? Tinsel, cards, paper, bows, stupid stocking stuffers, presents that no one wanted but were purchased out of a sense of “I’ve got to get them something.”
How many perfectly good items wind up in landfills because you need the latest version?
Ask yourself why.
We are constantly inundated with conflicting messages, some designed to raise fear, some to put it to rest. Our media rarely educates and informs. It entertains and sensationalizes. Are you really aware of what is going on out there? Do you really think that because it wasn’t fed to you in sound bite-sized pieces that it isn’t true or didn’t happen?
Wake up. Canada DID bail out our banks. YOUR pension could be getting skimmed by unscrupulous investment bankers and your government will do nothing to prove or prosecute this. We pay high costs for food because it has to travel a LONG way to get to us, despite the fertility of our land. The food industry runs on oil. It doesn’t have to. We could grow our own. We in Alberta pay some of the highest prices for energy despite being the top producing province of those same resources.
Why is this so and why don’t you care? Why, furthermore, are you getting angry at people like me for caring?
Could we possibly engage in a citywide, province wide, nationwide, worldwide conversation on ways to make it better? Seriously, what is your problem with that? Are you afraid it will disrupt the status quo, rock the boat, force YOU to look at the way you have been living, the way you directly support environmental destruction and all the horrors of unchecked greed mentioned above?
Are you afraid you could lose all you have worked hard to gain, the respect of your friends and neighbors, your own self esteem?
Well guess what. We all have a lot to lose. Some of us have already gone out on that limb and we are doing it for you as much as us. No one is looking for a handout. We are looking for an echo, an awakening, hope.
And it’s true that this movement may seem pointless in Canada because here we are still comfortable. But at what cost does that comfort continue? Is it really worth remaining comfortable driving a hummer when first nations’ water sources are being poisoned by toxins dumped by the oil trade? Did you know that cancer rates are escalating in the rurals of northern Alberta? Did you know we breathe poison, eat poison and then think and speak poison?
Is television, empty plastic pop culture and processed food so rotting our minds and bodies that we can sit in our easy chairs and ignore all of this?
The short answer is: yes.
The longer answer is: I hope not.
The complete answer is: It’s up to all of us. Look at the world you are helping create. Own your part in its creation. Do what you can to limit your participation in the crime that is causing the destruction of our planet, our people, our minds.
Can you love your neighbor, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat others as you want to be treated, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat yourself better by demanding quality over convenience, kindness over cruelty, life over sleepwalking through life?
I think we’d all better try. Don’t you? That is how real change happens. Everyone trying in their own small way.
That is what I am in this for. Not a handout. Not a moment in the spotlight. Awareness. Conscious living. Love and compassion for all beings.
We can change the world. I believe this utterly. If you don’t believe it, keep reading this blog. Keep coming back with hate and shortsightedness. Keep criticizing the people who, despite being the least qualified to do it, are already trying. Even that helps if it keeps the conversation going.
Haters, we need you as much as anybody. Keep doing your part. We will keep doing ours. Maybe one day we will do it all together.