Saturday, October 15, 2011

Complicit silence?

Am I missing something? I am failing to be a part of the movement which will define 2011? Or am I, like most, confused about what this ‘Occupy’ movement is all about, and thus continued to go about my day as normal, despite the calls for protesters in our city centre.

Demonstrators gathered in cities across Canada today as part of the global spread of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement which began last month. Close to 3,000 in Vancouver, another 3,000 in Toronto.... thousands of others around the world. They march into financial districts and city centres, holding signs opposing capitalism, climate change, oppression, lack of political transparency, etc. With no clear purpose or endgame, it is grouping of the diverse disgruntled.

I share many of the concerns of the demonstrators. I believe that our political system needs to be more transparent and representative. I think the interests of the rich far too often trump the needs of the poor. I think climate change is not being addressed with the urgency it deserves because politicians are too afraid and corporations too greedy.

And yet I was not among the crowd of demonstrators today.

Perhaps if I did not have a young child in my care, I would have been – attracted as much by curiosity as from a sense of power or necessity. But it did not seem prudent to take my child into a large crowd which could have potentially come into conflict with police.

Still, I wondered as I went about my day with my little girl –having a latte and a slice of poppy seed loaf at the cafĂ©, buying pyjamas and leggings in the mall, driving to the suburbs to pick up a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch – have I become too comfortable? too indifferent? Do I think I’m too good to join the movement until they become focused? My time too important to spend with a rabble of frustrated citizens who are taking to the streets in a hope that their voice might actually be heard, that their message might penetrate into the chambers of commerce, business and politics?

Is my silence so loud that it drowns out all their cries?

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