Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reflection on Protests

   Recently the Wall Street Protests has been garnering a lot of attention from both the press and the public.   I am heartened that there are people brave enough and committed enough to bring injustice to the attention of the nation.   I applaud their efforts to bring into the common discussion the problem of the wealth of the nation flowing to the few while the masses lose economic security.   Regardless of ones political position, it cannot be healthy for our country when the poverty rate increases while the financial elite gets disproportional rewards.   I don't know what the outcome of the Wall Street Protest activity will be, but I see it as a valuable raising of awareness of the continuing unfair distribution of rewards in our society.
  Perhaps my enthusiasm for the Wall Street Protests comes from  reflection on  protests that I have personally encountered in my lifetime now that I have reached geezerhood.   During my years at Cornell University I experienced student and faculty protests regarding racism and the Viet-Nam War. As a faculty member I spent many hours in faculty meetings reacting to and debating the demands and disruptions of the protesters.    At the time I was very much against their behavior and actions.   Walking over protesting students to gain entrance to meetings and cancelled classes both were very disturbing to me.   In fact I thought these actions were inappropriate and unnecessary.    Following the protests of the 60's and 70's there were changes spurred by the protesters.   And I came to appreciate that they did have right on their side.   Changes did have to be made and we both individually and collectively had to face our racism and war mongering.   I have truly grown to appreciate what the student protesters had to teach me.
     In my senior years,  I continue to see injustice that disturbs me.   I probably will never be the one to go into the streets with the protesters.   However, I am cheering them on from the sidelines.

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