I am watching heroes—displaced, disenfranchised and disillusioned—taking a stand for me and mine, for all of us, and I can do nothing.
I cannot be there with them. I cannot add my voice to their mic check, my arms another link in their human chain, my books to their library, my light to their flame.
I have a job; I am fortunate to have a good job. I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunities I’ve had, and am honest enough in my ongoing self-assessment to know that I have worked my ass off to make the most of those opportunities. And thus, my family, my children, are fed, and clothed, and sleep in a warm bed at night. They depend upon me, to keep this job, and so I show up every day.
And it is a good job; I show up every day with at minimum the promise of satisfaction for work well-done and worth doing, and occasionally, at best, with joy and gratitude for the work I do and those I do it with. I’m very lucky.
Yet, I am torn. Heroes are speaking up for me, for all of us, are giving up their livelihoods (those fortunate enough to have one), their time, their comfort and security, and in many cases their freedom, to speak words that resonate powerfully with me, that give voice to the anger and despair I and mine have felt growing inside. They are driving, not for an amicable settlement and press conference, but for a foundation-level reassessment of what we do and how we do it. This isn’t #protestWallStreet, this isn’t #engageWallStreet…this is #occupyWallStreet.
And I cannot be there. It is a choice, a difficult one, but one I have made: support my family, my children? or those who are trying to build a better world for my family to live in? I choose my family. I am not an activist. I’m not afraid of the cold, or confusion, or even being arrested. But it is my choice, my life’s work, to provide for my family, to give to them all I have, materially and emotionally, so that they can flourish, and I can be enriched by what they bring to the world. This is the promise I have made to them, and I will honor my agreements.
Which means, I am watching heroes, and I cannot be there with them. But I am not helpless.
I will boost their signal, carrying their voices far and wide. I will write, adding my own voice to their chorus. I will vote, and damn those who speak out and act out against these heroes.
And I will continue to watch. The observer affects the observed. We must bear witness to what they are doing for us.