St. Stephen's, Wien by Bear
Epiphanies aren't what they used to be. Or are they? The story of the Magi suggests that they stopped here and there, surprised that some were unaware of the birth that had engendered their travels, warmed by others who were. They eventually found what they were looking for, made their reverences, and delivered their gifts. They never questioned the signs that brought them and they returned home once they had confirmed their revelation. It was enough to acknowledge that a new day had emerged.
They probably knew that quite a bit of work lay ahead for the child they visited. Nonetheless, their business was merely to affirm what they had seen and move on. It's a very simple story, one that emphasizes the importance of recognizing a turn of events for what it is in that moment, rather than all the expectations planted within. Those expectations will have their day. But for now, we recognize the promise and affirm it. We pause. We bask in the glow of an epiphany.
Such is the case with our present state of affairs as a nation. The Occupy movement holds great promise. Most people who are at all tuned in to current events are aware that the occupiers have, by occupying parcels of land here and there and staging protests off and on, identified the ills from which this nation suffers and the culprits who have the capacity to release the resources that would mitigate the suffering and begin the process of healing the infrastructures, whether concrete, electronic, human or environmental, that must be mended. Unfortunately, they have done nothing else. And according to their Web sites and announcements, it doesn't appear they are planning to do anything more aside from the continued development of some tentacled Occupy apparatus that will allow them to continue doing what they are doing in perpetuity.
We have a President of the United States who just can't do anything well whether you are to his left or right. There is a whiff of corporatism about him that grows stronger as he develops his campaign for re-election and a streak of authoritarianism when he plays commander-in-chief and protector of our shores. Not surprising, given how little experience he had before we gave him the job (and remember, we did give it to him). Nonetheless, he has shown a sense of urbane style, occasional common sense, and the will to get some things done that had languished inside the Beltway for years. Of course it's been sloppy. For Dog's sake, he's younger than me.
The U.S. Congress is a joke. Every member should reduce staff to three people and start talking with one another. Do your own job. If you want more people, hire them at home to work with constituents. And by constituents, I mean voters, not lobbyists, corporations, or other politicians. Too simple? Complicated got us where we are today. Of course, none of that is going to happen. It is a solution, but, like many other possible solutions, it is one that is too demanding for such an arthritic institution.
We all know the rest. It is what our world has come to. The rants of frustration echo in the Ethernet and on the magazine and news pages. What is to be done?
My epiphany for this day is to acknowledge that the key has been turned. The door is open. The world is aware that the 1 percent hold the power and resources needed by the 99 percent to correct the ills of this great country. And although we can begin to think up the ways in which we can start to distribute that power and move those resources to be more productive, although we can begin to reduce the inequities in our society and rebuild the infrastructure that sorely needs rebuilding, although we can begin to write laws and regulations that truly benefit the common good and not the narrow interests of some, in this moment we must pause.
We must pause and affirm that what we saw in the distance is now at our feet. We must stop and acknowledge that the new day has come. With that new day, we must work together. No recriminations. No frustration. No backbiting. No second-guessing. Honest criticism. Balanced words. Open discussion. Willing hands.
My epiphany is that our common purpose should triumph over all. Our common good, the essential needs of the 99 percent, come first. Progress changes America.