I plan to write a few posts based on my participation in the #OccupyWallStreet movement, but I have to get this off my chest first. Some who know me will find this offensive, fuck it…
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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m harder to find these days, more distant, less talkative. There’s a reason for that (aside from my natural tendency toward solitude). Recent revelations have forced me to reevaluate my relationship with you. As I listen to you complain about all the little things in your life, please understand that I’m part of a social movement that forces me to witness the ruthless dispossession of human beings.
While you were bitching about your relationship with your daughter the other day, for example, I was spending time with an elderly woman who has lost everything she owns. She’s in her 80s. The last time I saw her she was sleeping at Zuccotti Park. Yeah, she’s one of the people you’ve been mocking.
As you griped about your baby momma drama, I couldn’t help but reflect that the other day I was sitting with a young lady, a recently graduated Latina, almost $100,000 in debt and unable to find a job.
As you were snidely pointing out to me that the people shopping on Black Friday are part of the 99%, I thought back to the brutal take down of a sixteen-year-old honors student at the hands of the police. Her crime? Challenging the assumptions of a society that makes Black Friday possible -- even a necessity.
I listen to you, my friends, lovers, my family, my network of loved ones, and I am thrown by the banality of your frame of reference. I am repulsed by your self-centeredness; you’re utter incapacity for empathy. But most of all, I am saddened.
And it’s not about whether you agree with my politics or not. Believe me, most people don’t agree with me. My frame of reference is Marxist and I advocate for a democratic socialism totally foreign or repugnant to you. People disagreeing with me for my political stance isn’t anything new or traumatic. What appalls me is your cynicism, your cruelty, your apathy, and your fucked up judgmental bullshit.
It’s not that you ridicule, or make fun of my participation in a social movement. That’s been a constant for as long as I can remember. I have always taken unpopular stances, fought for unpopular causes, and people have laughed at me for even longer than my tired eyes could ever tell you. What horrifies me is that you have no real stance. You have no solutions. You have no passion and it seems that when you see passion in others, it brings out something ugly and ignorant living inside of you. It seems to me that sometimes your soul has been starved or that you’ve become so hardened and calloused there’s no real heart at your core, only contempt.
And what’s ironic is that a lot of you don’t have to go too far back in order to acknowledge your own wreckage. Your children have been shaped and warped by it, your relationships have been destroyed by it, and there was a time when you felt as if the world were laughing at you and you felt like nothing. Most of all, I remember when you felt like shit, when your self-worth was almost zero. I remember that. So, today, you’ve managed some measure of social acceptability and now you have the arrogance to look down at others. How arrogant of you, how thoughtless, and how ugly you seem to me.
And let’s not get it twisted: I remember when your mother used food stamps, when the guys thought you were a hallway ho’, and when even your own mother wouldn’t open the door for you. I remember you crying because you couldn’t pay the rent and then rejoicing with you when you cried because you could pay the rent. I knew you when someone sacrificed their mental and physical health so that you could go to college and “be somebody,” and now that you think you are somebody, you’ve bought into the propaganda and laugh at those struggling to make a better or fairer society.
The sad thing, for me anyway, is that I’ve been struggling. I’ve been facing my own really tough challenges. Now I have to face the fact that, at that time when I need you most, I have to choose to love you from afar because I can’t stand to see what you have become. I can’t abide the realization that when you marginalize others, you’re also marginalizing me.
As I struggle, along with many other good people, people you can’t hold a candle to in terms of courage and will, I have to come to terms with the reality that perhaps I haven’t chosen well or wisely in creating my support network, and I have to say that I’m moving on, without you. I am, however, grateful that you have forced me to take an inventory and question: how does my friendship with you reflect on me as a person and, most importantly, am I truly living my values? I realize that many who even bother to read this will attempt to analyze me and label me “angry” or “hostile” or whatever the fuck the flavor of the month is. But I’m not angry. If anything, I stopped being angry a long time ago. I’m even moving past the sadness, and moving on.
I hope you do as well…