Occupy My Soul


The definition of fair is: free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.  Due to my incessant chants of, “That’s not fair!” my 11th grade English teacher required me to write that definition 500 times.  Not sure what his goal was, as the exercise did nothing to dampen my idealism, but it did teach me that those in authority become extremely irritated and retaliatory when a subordinate has the audacity to openly accuse them of unfairness.  The definition of audacious is: bold; daring; insolent; brazen.  I like it.  I seem to remember a politician promising to have the audacity to change America, but he has not been audacious whatsoever since being elected.  So my idealistic nature has led me to follow the brazen Occupy Wall Street protests which have spread throughout the United States as well as overseas.  Most of the U.S. media coverage has described the movement as disorganized and without a focus and the majority of protesters as naïve college students supported by their capitalist parents.  Funny, the international media coverage of Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy (insert city here) protests cite a goal of changing the political and economic culture that has become audaciously unfair and corrupt.  Is that focus too nebulous?  An example of the protests’ focus is the fact that in the last quarter corporate after-tax profits as a share of the GDP were the highest since 1947, yet these corporations were not hiring.  This follows preceding quarters that also netted record-breaking profits.  Our policy-makers are still insisting that more tax breaks, more money in the pockets of corporations, will create jobs.  There are 14 million unemployed in the United States and those that are employed are regularly told that they had better buck up, increase productivity, and not be “negative” about it because they are lucky to have a job.  This definitely qualifies as one of the most absurd changes in my 5th decade.

I am one of the 14 million unemployed who finds 2-3 jobs per week to apply for which pay between 10 and 12 dollars per hour.  I could go on here about my qualifications,
trying to justify why I should be able to find a job, but I am no different from the millions of other qualified professionals willing to settle for half or less of their previous income just to put food on the table.  It is absurd that we are actually competing for those low-paying jobs, but a person has to eat.  This is what we have been reduced to.  No more talk of dreams, just worries about paying the mortgage and feeding our children; just trying to get by.

Since losing my job in July I have filled my time with education, writing, and sending personalized resumes to companies that have not responded (except for the one that offered me $9/hour for ten hours/week).  Tomorrow I will join the Occupy Grand Rapids protesters along with a few like-minded friends at a rally downtown that has been moved several times because the organizers are trying like mad to operate within the
law
.  I must have missed the fine print under the 1st amendment that noted you must have a permit to assemble in a public place.  Just in case I am bringing along the activist who has influenced me most, my Mom, who is also the only person I know who has bail money.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? – Matthew 16:26

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3 thoughts on “Occupy My Soul

    • Thank you so much! I have been reading as much as I can about the Occupy protests, and this is the best first-person/regular-guy piece I’ve seen. I will strive to do as good of a job reporting my experience at Occupy GR. Thanks also for your well wishes. It’s a crazy world!

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