November 15, 2011

Last Time I Checked

I don’t care what you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It doesn’t matter whether you think they have it all right by standing up against social injustice or they are just a bunch of jobless freeloaders.

What matters is you are an informed citizen. You have done your civil duties if you have researched, questioned or discussed the subjects they bring up and made your own mind. What matters is you have the informational tools to make such a decision, and that the protesters have a platform to peacefully express themselves and try to be heard.

This morning, before daylight, the Occupy Wall Street movement was evicted by force from Zucotti Park by fully-armoured riot police using pepper spray, batons and abundant force. A non-violent movement that successfully managed to rally tens of thousands of people from all across the spectrum of society was bulldozed, handcuffed and silenced. A united voice, coming from the very base of society and peacefully asking for justice, a better use of common wealth and the end of political corruption in the offices of government has been muzzled unilaterally by the very owners of power being questioned.

What ever happened to democracy? Last time I checked, we were supposed to live in one of the freest parts of the world, a shining beacon of freedom of speech, individual liberty and equality. Well, it seems like the last time I checked was way, way too long ago.

I was too busy trying to have a career. My mind was on my money and my money was on my mind. I was caught in a never-ending spiral of consumption that blinded me from the important things in life, such as sharing, pursuing true happiness and actively participating in the values of my society. I was watching TV. I was believing it.

The truth jumped at me like a blinding flash-grenade this morning. We are not free. We do not have the right to voice concerns anymore, even if we do so peacefully, even when aggression is used against us. We do not have the right to contest authority and ask for change. We do not have the right to think for ourselves. We do not have the right to oppose the powers in place, even when they blatantly disregard the population they are supposed to serve.

The message cannot be clearer. You are expected to shut up, suit up and go to work without question. You do not exceed the value of your productivity, and only as long as you maintain it. Your voice does not count, nor do your values or your opinions. You are expected to be thankful for whatever it is decided you will get. You are a faceless number. You must conform.

I don’t care what you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What I care about is the right for anyone to liberty, to free speech and to participate in the development of society. Much more so when it is done non-violently, by people from all walks of life who simply want to make use of democracy.

Wake up and smell the tear gas.

We are not free.

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