May 1 General Strike — with kids

I’m taking May 1 off. For this:


Granted, I’m using my paid time off to stand in solidarity with Occupy. I’m not the type to call-in sick when I’m not actually sick (it’s not really that I find it morally reprehensible; I have guilt issues). But I’m also keeping the Kaiser out of school that day.

No work. No school. No buying. No banking.

I mentioned this to Jed, and he was all for it, but then Jed is a huge socialist anti-authoritarian liberal hippie, so that was fairly simple. I’m keeping the Kaiser out to enjoy the day with me. It’s been a while since I’ve allowed him a mental-health day, but it’s something we dig. And it’s something we do every once in a while. I’m also pretty sure he learns as much in a day with me as he does in a day at kindergarten, but that’s neither here nor there.

I feel this motherly need — this impulse — to justify myself, to explain that “Yes, yes, I’m keeping my child out of school but I PROMISE we’ll talk about civil disobedience and Liberation Theology and how this relates to doing the right thing.”

And that’s true. But mostly we’ll skateboard and we’ll mess around with bugs and we’ll read and we’ll probably picnic. We’ll also spend a bit of time in downtown Greenville with our decisively small (yet determined) Occupy group.

What’s it about then? What’s the point? To quote Lisa Fithian, “It’s not about getting our elected officials to do something. Shit. They ain’t gonna do shit.” That is what it’s not.

It’s about standing up for the least among us. It’s about looking at a corrupt system and deciding that nah, I’m not buying this garbage. And it’s about teaching my kid that the status quo doesn’t equate to right, that money (or lack thereof) doesn’t define your character, and that political races shouldn’t be won by s/he with the biggest bank roll. The system is corrupt, unsustainable and not in the best interests of our citizens. The widening chasm between rich and poor is not a good thing, for us or for those inheriting what we leave behind.

Can you explain all that to a six-year old? Sorta (ehhhh). Will it make a difference? Sure it will.

My child lives a privileged life in many ways – middle class, suburban, safe. He needs to know about lives beyond his own, and I’d like him to know that there are people who are willing to stand up for outsiders. Even when it’s uncomfortable. And even when it’s against the rules. I want him to remember Occupy, and I’d like to think that this is one small way among a million others to shape both his strength and his compassion.

I realize I live in a part of the country where Occupy isn’t very popular. I think that’s sad, and I think it’s a damn shame that this movement has become politicized. But if you’re feeling radical come May 1, keep you kid out, call in to work, and come spend the day with us.


1 Comment

Filed under Raising Kids

One response to “May 1 General Strike — with kids

  1. Dan

    I personally am not an Occupy supporter. That said, I absolutely support their right to exist, speak and be heard. Our unique Union is strongest when we listen carefully to dissent. I support your decision to share Occupy with your Young’un. He will be a good American, because you are a good American! Have a productive May 1.

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