Can We Change Our Government? (a response to the Occupy Minnesota protests)

7 Oct

I went to the Occupy Minnesota protest today downtown – crisscrossed the park and traversed the congestion of weekday traffic on my bike.

It was rather interesting, and I’m glad I went. I spent most of this morning  reading Freedom, and thinking about what it takes to effect actual change. For some reason, as of late, I’ve become bizarrely sensitive to national issues.

Originally, I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in the protest. But then I realized that maybe, just maybe, all of these events are culminating into something – some change – and I though a shocking thought: ‘You know what? Perhaps the United States of America isn’t actually set in stone.’

Education, women’s rights, gay rights, corporate greed, Somali aid: All of these issues have been swirling around me. Hoards of people are slowly feeling the pull of protest and recognizing, like the resurfacing of a long lost childhood memory, their deep anger – an anger that has been suppressed and denied and ignored for so long due to fear and a sense of helplessness or false hope.

Anger with the job market, anger with the government, anger with politicians of all creeds and shapes and mantras and sizes –  the list goes on and on.

I used to think that there was no point in expressing this frustration unless I had a solution, unless I could specifically place blame on some law or institution. But I think that my logic was flawed. I think that it’s ok to express outrage about something, in spite of the cognizance that I have no idea who specifically to ‘blame’ or what to ‘fix’ or how to fix it.

And you know what? It felt really good to be able to finally just stand somewhere outside, in the middle of a business district, and use my physical presence to relay my strong feelings of frustration and helplessness, my finite American existence, to the world. To the skyscrapers. To the others who had gathered who obviously felt that there was something amiss as well.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt like I have any power in the state of our nation. Is this how most of my generation feels?

photo: minnpost.com

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