So I have been working hard to process all that is happening around the nation and specially here in Atlanta in the Occupy movement. As some of you know my partner, my wife of 8 years is a lieutenant in the Atlanta Police Department. Many of you also know that I have a heart and mind tuned deeply toward actively seeking justice for folks on the margins. The Occupy movement in Atlanta has brought real turmoil and pain to my heart as I work to balance my loves and loyalties. My soul is truly fractured by the love for and faith in my wife and my deep love for a country that has gone terribly awry and my belief in a responsibility to speak up. My faith tells me, and history has proven, that nonviolent civil disobedience is sometimes called for and can be a powerful agent of sustainable change.
When my partner returned at 3am Wednesday morning, after being down there at Woodruff/Troy Davis Park I watched the YouTube videos start rolling in, my heart shattered and I have been steeping in my discord all day. Here is where I am tonight - I don’t agree with the tactics or politics that are driving authorities – but I do believe the drama must unfold a certain way in order for people, the media and the world to pay attention. But here I must be clear – I am a progressive Christian that believes in the principals of nonviolent action and I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t scream F#*&! The Pigs, I think it went something like “forgive them for they know not what they do”. I seem to have read somewhere that Gandhi wasn’t lobbing paint and rocks at the authorities. If we are calling the Occupy movement nonviolent maybe some folks need to re-read their nonviolence primer.
When civil disobedience is called for (and I absolutely believe we are at that juncture in history) be prepared to submit to the authorities if you break the law. Then come back again and again, peacefully, to break and submit until the world is changed. If we are not going to do this through nonviolent means then it it not my movement and although I am the 99%, born to an iron worker in the south, it does not speak for me.
I agree that the struggle is not the same, and the goals are still mushy but as i struggle with what this all is words like these keep running through my head:
“I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.” ~ Rev. Dr. King, Letter from A Birmingham Jail
I love you all with a truly bleeding heart tonight…