Saturday, November 12, 2011

Youth Wasted on the Young?

The other morning I listened to an interview with the dean of St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto. The Very Reverend Douglas Stoute has been a busy man because the Occupy Toronto encampment is in St. James Park, co-owned by the cathedral and the city of Toronto. He was firm and patient and eloquent in the interview -- I was very impressed. I notice that their website includes a letter about the Occupy protesters which includes these thoughts:

We have asked that the protesters respect the members of the community who live and work in the area. The overwhelming response from the members of the community to the Cathedral’s position on this issue has been positive. They share, as do we, the protesters’ message of justice and equality.
We fully appreciate the frustration of some of the neighbours to the disruption. Their anger at the Church, however, is misplaced. We have no power to evict the protesters. We cannot speak for the City, but even if we did have that power, we would be very reluctant to invoke it. We believe that we are blessed to live in a society where peaceful conversation can take place publicly and here citizens are free to voice their concerns without fear of violence or reprisals.

It seemed inevitable that municipalities across North America would eventually lose their patience and send the police to break up the encampments. We could say that they couldn't last forever and that these predominantly young people are brash and naiive and quixotic in their ideals.

I hope we remember that yesterday we honoured young people who were brash and idealistic and probably naiive as well because they were willing to head off to conflicts in distant places on our behalf. That's the way young people are, and we should thank God for this because we often become complacent and make concessions claiming that we are realistic about the world.

When we gather for our annual meeting of Bay of Quinte Conference it is the young people who infuse a ridiculous amount of energy into the proceedings. There are times when we oldsters are thinking "you don't understand" as they go to the microphones but its good that they don't accept the status quo.

Some of you might think that the Occupy Movement should not be mentioned in the same breath as those who fought for freedom during our international conflicts but I do think there are parallels in passion. They want to create a better world and address the injustices around us.



IanD said...

I had never thought of equating the two, but I can see the parallel, now that you've made it clear to me.


Laurie said...

It is not just young people in the Occupy Protests! There are people of all ages. The press seems to be trying to make this a "young" people movement. If you go down to St. James park you will find people of all ages.