Ok. Now I have your attention. If you decide to protest by camping out on my front lawn, I’m not sure it would make a compelling political statement. But if you choose to put up your tent there, I am more likely to give you cookies than to lob canisters of tear gas at you.
What I want to say is that I’m really inspired by OWS and its many affinity groups. It reminds me that there are still things to believe in and still some values in public life that just can’t get suffocated by cynicism. I haven’t felt that way in awhile. I haven’t felt that way in a long time.
I get really angry at those people who criticize OWS by saying that they don’t have a constructive program. This is usually coming from people who don’t have one either or, more likely, have programs that are in conflict with everything we have learned to believe is good and true and beautiful.
When Rosa Parks got on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and sat right down at the front, she didn’t come armed with a 20 point plan to end segregation in America. She hadn’t studied the footnotes to Supreme Court decisions. She just got on that bus and sat down where she wanted. I don’t know what she said to that bus driver, but she was probably thinking: “this much and no more”. She was probably just thinking: “no”.
One of my intellectual heroes is Albert Camus. In his brilliant book, The Rebel, he said, “What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
I think that’s a good place to begin.