Is this my Country?

Is this my Country?

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I’m certain I’m watching something in Russia or Egypt or Iran, but it’s Chicago. USA. It’s a ballroom in America. It’s politicians and supporters and white linen table cloths and wine glasses. And crashers. Darkly dressed party crashers demanding rights. Ruining the party. Party poopers!

It’s the same in an alcoholic family. There are those who know how to have fun, and those who ruin everything by talking about alcoholism. They’re so serious. Such downers.

America is like that right now. The Occupiers are crashing the party and saying, “This is diseased. This isn’t fun. This is wrong,” and the rest of us aren’t sure who to believe.

We’d rather keep shopping and watching the game than deal with the elephant in the room. Maybe there is no elephant. Maybe it’s just a lot of noise from the family rabble-rouser.

“Just past the dip, and shut-up for once,” we say. We’re not the problem. We can’t control the alcoholic. We just want our beer and our program and to be left alone because it’s the weekend.

But the din is getting louder. More and more family members are speaking up. It’s harder to hear the tv. Shopping isn’t quite as fun. Something’s shifting.

And we’re afraid.

If we admit that things are bad, then things have to change, and what will that change bring? Keeping the status quo feels safer, no matter where it’s heading so we turn up the tv, or head to the gym; and then make a donation for another family who lost everything to hospital bills, and pretend that we’re not worried about our health in the face of water and air and soil so polluted; and tell our kids to work hard and get a good job because that’s what it will take to pay off their students loans and keep themselves busy so that they never have time to face what is wrong either.

And when the family falls apart, we’ll be surprised. We didn’t see it coming. Sure there were signs, but we never imagined…

Kelly Salasin, 11/11/11

more on the Occupy movement on this blog