Dearest Occupiers, in New York, in Portland, in Los Angeles, in Seattle, in my city Chico, and everywhere,
Thank you for your courage in standing up during these fucked up times to say, we can do better than this! I honor your bright hearts and directed, unified action.
I have been hearing a lot about the 99% of Americans who collectively make less than the other 1%. This is indeed a sad and telling statistic. It is a good thing to ask where our values lie, and if we are willing to participate in a system that creates such unequal distribution of resources.
I want to encourage you, however, to realize that this statistic does not have to be a dividing line in an Us vs Them revolution. The powerful movement unfolding in front of us can, and I believe must, be open and inclusive to 100% of our fellow citizens.
I would advise you to not get caught up in the trap of thinking that money can provide happiness. It can provide ease and comfort, but the bankers and stockbrokers are surely no more fulfilled in their lives than any of the rest of us. In many cases, I would wager less so. They know on some level that they daily contribute immensely to others' suffering and the degradation of the planet. Now is your chance to offer them something better: a way out of the gang they've been trapped in.
I feel very concerned that if we do not offer a vision of the future that is happier than our present to everyone, this revolution will be much more painful, and in the long run, less significant.
So, as you walk the streets of New York, I invite you to call to the police officers and high-rise windows: Join us! Leave your lives of isolation and depression, trying to buy enough commodities to fill up the hole in your heart! Come play music, eat a communal meal, learn the simple but incomparable joy of sharing with a community and having deep friendships. Invite them to consider the possibility that their souls will be nourished by acting from a place of love rather than individualism.
I worry that some protesters will think this is unrealistic. That the bankers are too corrupt, are inherently evil. I understand why it is difficult not to think so. Believe me, I condemn and hate people fiercely at times too, when I hear of an atrocity that speaks particularly to my heart. Nevertheless I know we are all sentient, living creatures with the potential to act wisely and compassionately. Give people enough opportunity to do so, offer them a vision of a better world, and they will eventually take it.