Saturday, October 22, 2011

More on the Occupy Wall Street Protests

After writing a recent post regarding the Occupy Wall Street protests, I read an article on-line by Brian McLaren, author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.

Below are some highlights from his article that I believe are worth considering. You and I may not join the protests in the streets, but we can make our wishes known to our representatives in Washington and the State House. That’s why I’ve posted portions of his article below – so you and I can do something constructive to help turn this country around. Most of all, pray for this country, which has been the hope of so many who came to our shores to escape oppression, to be able to worship freely, and to prosper materially. All of those are under threat. Below are excerpts from the article:

The substance: both the market-driven disease and its government-driven cures have further enriched and advantaged the most powerful economic elites (the 1 percent) at the expense of the rest of us. After the crisis and bailouts, the 1 percent has a larger share of the wealth and power than before, and the 99 percent have more unemployment, more debt, and more frustration.

Here are a few unsolicited suggestions.

1) Name what's wrong. I think the movement is right to diagnose the problem as the concentration of wealth and opportunity among powerful elites (including banking, corporate, media, military-industrial, educational, and political elites).

2) Protest what's wrong. Protesting isn't everything, but it is something, and it matters. Protest mobilizes frustration and anger. It seeks to tap reservoirs of potentially destructive emotional energies so they can be directed toward constructive ends.

3) Name the goals. Just as naming the problem matters, so naming the solutions matters. And that will probably make all the difference for the movement.

4) Pro-testify for solutions. Protesting is being against something worth being against. But that's not enough. We must also pro-testify for something worth being for. That's why urban occupiers and their sympathizers will need to pro-testify for a concrete list of proposals.

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