On my facebook wall tonight I saw two photos, one after the other. I'd seen both already, since folks have been posting them all day ~ but the fact that they happened to be juxtaposed like they were made me pause for a moment.
The first was soldiers holding a sign that read "Occupy Bagram: Quit your Bitchin' and get back to Work".
The next reads, "If they enforced bank regulation like they do park rules, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place".
It seems to me like a person would fall into one of these camps or the other. In fact, it seems to be true that our entire political system is set up so that you have to take one side or the other every time there's a conversation about anything. It seems like, in this case, if you agree with the soldiers then you're against the protesters. And if you agree with the protesters, then you're against the soldiers. Perhaps that's too stark of a dichotomy, but that's the way it ends up playing out on facebook and in the news.
Of course, some could argue that they two opinions ought to go hand in glove. If the OWS protesters could get a job in this economy, they would probably have already followed the advice of the soldiers. And perhaps if the authorities had enforced bank regulations, there would arguably be more jobs available.
Then again, at the same time, others could argue that the protesters are spoiled, and their complains are about nothing substantial; that other people are getting by just fine, thank you very much, on hard work and sacrifice.
Personally, though, I'd prefer to live in a world where war is not necessary because we recognize the value of each individual and community enough to not kill each other. I'd prefer to live in a world where protest is not necessary because we recognize the value of each individual and community enough to not let anyone go without being able to do meaningful work and make a contribution to society. I'd prefer to live in a world where bank regulation is not necessary because we recognize the value of each individual and community enough to not greedily gain for ourselves at the expense of our neighbor. I'd prefer to live in a world where park regulation is not necessary because we recognize the value of each individual and community enough to respect, use wisely, and not pillage or degrade our natural resources.
I suppose it sounds like I'd prefer to live in the Kingdom of G-d ... and perhaps I would, because (at the danger of creating G-d in my image), that's what I imagine the Kingdom of G-d looks like. What I wonder is, why aren't we working harder together to make it reality? Is it just greed and selfishness, or is there something more that keeps us from that work?