Occupy Conundrum: I’m finally coming out of the activist closet

I recently had a political discussion with a conservative friend on mine via Facebook. I decided that rather than continue the political debate there, I would bring it to my much-neglected blog. This will be the first in what I plan to be many blog posts on the Occupy Movement, rather than Facebook comments, because this is a bigger discussion than just “I’m right! No, I’m right.” And because as I writer, I’ve been writing as a reaction, rather than an action. It’s time to stop that. And so…

What spurred this post was a discussion on Facebook. It went something like this: A link was posted with a comment condemning some of the behaviors in the Middle East (using children as human shields, women as sex slaves). (In fairness, it should be condemned. It’s morally wrong.) I commented that we needed to look at the atrocities our own country commits (unnecessary police brutality, soldiers raping young girls/women and killing civilians) before condemning others. The conversation ensued back and forth, with comments about videos not showing all of the details coming from the “other side.” I almost responded to the last few comments made, then realized that we were playing a game of “I’m right! No, I’m right!” So, I came here instead.

It was the video point that stopped me. I’ve seen videos. They’ve seen videos. Have we all been watching the same videos? It was pointed out that the Occupy Movement protesters aren’t going to show everything. I would argue that the opposite side does the same. It’s an impasse, but it made me pause. How do any of us know, who aren’t at the protests, what’s really going on. We don’t. But there is a solution. Rather than continuing this argument with people I do consider friends, I’m going to educate myself. I’m going to visit Occupy encampments and protests to see what is really going on. I am one of the 99%–but I want to see for myself who and what I am supporting. I would encourage anyone who is unclear about the Occupy Movement to do the same. For those who feel that they are not part of the 99%, I would encourage them to think about why.

The only way any of us can make sound judgments about which side to choose is to educate ourselves beyond what anyone tells us. Let’s think for ourselves, even if it takes us out of our comfort zone.

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