Parker J. Palmer On What We Could Learn About Politics, Faith, And Each Other
There are people on the far Right and far Left who can’t join in a creative dialogue about our differences — say, the most radical 15 or 20 percent on either end. But that leaves 60 or 70 percent in the middle who could have that conversation, given the right conditions. And in a democracy, that’s more than enough to do business.
The Right claims that Occupy Wall Street is secretly dominated by anarchists, but the real inner cabal is composed of smart academics. This movement has learned from all the failed activism of the last forty years. In the 1960s young hippies attempted to overthrow the established order, but their values were completely opposed to those of the working class. Now the young hippies have signs that say, We Are the 99%. (Besides, the working class is no longer scared of long hair.) The Occupiers also refuse to be pushed to the left. They don’t attack capitalism or even the war in Afghanistan. They just say over and over, “Why did they bail out the banks but not us?”
“I’ll be the one with the long white beard,” my old boyfriend tells me. His voice on the phone is low and hesitant, but he’s coming to pick me up right away. Thirty-five years ago he was my first lover, and I am coming back to visit him because I’m alone in England, where he lives, and so is he.