FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Crossing the Divide

by MISSY BEATTIE

Among the emails I’ve received in response to my Occupy Wall Street (OWS) columns, is one from a man who says he’s the 1 percent.  Told me he prints my articles to use as toilet tissue.  I wanted to answer:  Hope you have multiple printers, cause you’re so full of shit.  I refrained.  High road, you know.  I haven’t resisted this impulse consistently.  Once, after several interchanges and a couple of glasses of red, I told a reader he must have a small penis.  I regretted this as soon as I pushed “Send” and apologized the next day.

Another reader told me and continues to tell me, as I compose this and await his reaction to my latest email, that my support for OWS is divisive.  He’s infinitely reflective and believes that the answer to the world’s problems resides within each heart.  That removing the darkness from our hearts will, also, remove what alienates us as humans.  And he knows that this will not be accomplished quickly.

I’ve told him we don’t have generations to revolutionize a corrupt system by, first, ridding our hearts of darkness through self-examination.  That the1percenters are Fukushima-ing our very existence, right now.

This just in from him:

The only way to influence the behavior of others in a lasting way is to set the example.  I have encouraged many people to boycott Starbucks…. Every now and then a friend will suggest we stop at Starbucks, and I will apologize and say that I can’t because I refuse to patronize them…. And I explain about the union busting, the exploitation of workers, the devastation of small coffee farmers, the homogenization of cultures, and about how Howard Shultz is a big supporter of Zionist Israel.

Another person wrote in the subject line after reading “It’s All We’ve Got”:  “All we’ve got is not enough.”  And in the body:

A clear goal would be a good thing about now, lest this movement be dismissed as an exercise in anarchy that can only protest the status quo with no viable alternatives.  It’s like the proverbial anarchist convention where the participants start out angrily removing their name tags and quickly advance to an ineffectual mob. How about focusing on Move Your Money or reinstatement of Plus Tick Regulation?  How about an insistence on Green Technologies or an end to armed intervention across the globe?  Something.  Anything. Otherwise we have an unharnessed energy source that amounts to little more than an annoyance to the 1%.

I replied that an increasing number have no money to move and that many of us have worked tirelessly for years, to no avail, for peace, justice, and green energy, concluding with:  “There’s nothing wrong with an unharnessed energy source.  It beats apathy.”

And from someone who responds often with breathtaking dexterity:  “OWSt. millions v. Obamanable minions*.  The world is their* OWSt.er!”

I once wrote a piece after watching a movie about the dissolution of a marriage and betrayal of friendships.  Two men, colleagues, and their families, who socialized, regularly, were involved, secretly, sexually, with each other’s wife. I pondered how we can understand people who are separated from us by borders and oceans when we can’t maintain our vows to those we promise “to love as long as we both shall live.”

And, now, I’m in the midst of my own trauma/drama with my best friend of more than 30 years.  Someone I love who sat with me daily during the months after my husband’s death three and a half years ago.  Someone who has a completely different perspective from mine on the last two years.  We, like my readers and me, have had email exchanges, although she lives across the street.  And there has been no reconciliation through this. She left a gift in front of my door—no name, no card—and, later, told my sister she’d bought it for me.  I assume before the severing.

I ran by her as she walked her dogs and passed my own baton—“Here,” I said, as I handed her packaging from makeup I bought and knew she’d want in her shade.  And, then, I sped up, while I self-examined.  The darkness in the heart. At what point on the path to cleavage could I have intercepted and diverted whatever it was that brought us to the distillate of so many relationships?

And that question emerges again and again:  How can we cross a divide between the uber-wealthy and the rest of us—how can we do anything to make peace when we cannot sift with clarity through our own personal lives?  Self-examination versus self-indulgence.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  She can be reached at:  missybeat@gmail.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
Jeffrey Wilson
Demolish! The Story of One Detroit Resident’s Home
REZA FIYOUZAT
Billionaire In Panic Over Dems’ Self-Destruct
David Penner
The Barbarism of Privatized Health Care
Yves Engler
Canada in Zambia
Ludwig Watzal
What Israel is Really All About
Randy Shields
Matters of National Insecurity
Vacy Vlanza
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Through Eyes of an Activist for Palestine
Cesar Chelala
Dr. Schweitzer’s Lost Message
Masturah Alatas
Becoming Italian
Martin Billheimer
Lessons Paid in Full
Charles R. Larson
Review: James Q. Whitman’s “Hitler’s American Model”
David Yearsley
The Brilliance of Velasquez
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail