Rev. Rich Lang
What will you do when they come for you?
The Occupy Movement (OM) has already produced many positive outcomes in the body politic. The OM has applied a brake to the relentless advancement of economic fascism with its agenda of austerity; it has bought us some time to turn, ever so slightly, the inevitable impoverishing of a once gifted America. The agenda is clear: We are being scripted to serve the interests of perpetual war on behalf of the insatiable evil of the 1 percent. The OM has ripped the mask of civility off this treason and revealed that the America we knew is gone. We are living in the in-between times with the future hanging upon the result of what we the people do today.
The OM, which has been an astonishingly nonviolent assembly, has also revealed the growing brutality of an emerging police state. On the same day that police rioted against public dissent, when 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, along with hundreds of others, were chemically doused with gallons of pepper spray, a smaller outburst of brutality occurred in Belltown. There, the bike patrol assaulted a smaller crowd of non-violent dissenters. When I stepped between the marchers and the patrol — alone and in full clergy vestments, with my back to the patrol and the marchers retreating from the spray — several officers soaked down the back of my alb, with one stepping up and intentionally spraying my face.
This last week Pastor John Helmiere was acting as a peacemaker during the Port of Seattle closing, and he was taken down from behind by the bike patrol, beaten with several punches to the face, handcuffed and thrown into jail over night. Like myself, John was clearly functioning as a peacemaker and was dressed in clerical role. My point is this: If the police so blatantly target and assault white, middle-class, male clergy-types, what do you think they will do to you if and when you are compelled to voice and act out your patriotic dissent? What will they do to you once you’ve had enough of economic fascism and its corresponding crisis of permanent war?
This, of course, is nothing new to the poor or to African and Native Americans. The Seattle Police Department has practiced brutality for years without accountability. What white, middle-class folks simply don’t grasp is that the police are no longer fellow neighbors. When they don the uniform, they become the brutalizing arm of corporate interests. The bottom line reads that bullies that get out of control, with no accountability, become no different than good German police turned Nazi or good El Salvadoran police turned death squad members.
And before you think I’m being overly alarmist consider this: both Germany and El Salvador had a Christian base but they lost their way. Are we really any different?
The question, dear reader, is: What will you do about it?
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