11.03.11 Accountability and Conviction – Engines of Reform and Revolt

This past week a rare snow storm hit the East Coast widely blanketing the region with snow and challenging the protestors of New York City’s, Occupy Wall Street movement to remain stalwart in their convictions despite being without propane tanks and generators.

The tanks and generators, cited as illegal safety hazards, had been removed under order of Mayor Bloomberg just ahead of the storm. They were dutifully gathered and removed by New York City fire teams, leaving protestors to huddle in tents, under sleeping bags and by whatever manner they may be able to avoid exposure.

It’s interesting that, in this situation, hypothermia isn’t considered a safety hazard, but taking steps to avoid it is.

Really, this bassackward thinking isn’t all that unusual in our modern era. Increasingly, common sense continues to take a back seat to political agenda cloaked as efforts to help ensure public safety and welfare.

After all, propane is a product of natural gas – a resource currently being exploited through all commercialized political channels to the wide exclusion of the development of alternative, sustainable, safer, cleaner energy sources. Domestic drinking water poisoned from natural gas operations somehow assures our energy future even as the fuel itself is being exported to other nations. Somehow, smoking a cigarette in a lounge is unsafe, but a natural gas rig can be erected out your backdoor, belching unmeasured and unreported toxic emissions twenty-four hours a day.

An Iraq war veteran was injured in an Occupy Oakland police riot by a projectile in the course of exercising his Constitutional right to free speech and assembly.  Apparently, his duty in Iraq to defend the merit of our Constitution was in the best interest of the public’s safety, but, his efforts to uphold these rights in his own country was worthy of punishment.

WTF? has never rung truer in the age of asinine, self-serving policy.

The other piece of news that caught my attention this week is based on reports that following the execution of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son and other high level officials are seeking refuge in friendly neighboring nations in order to evade prosecution by the International Criminal Court, currently pursuing the former officials for war crimes.

Given the long-established network of allegiances in the dessert borderlands between nations, and today’s shifting murk of international politics, the men fleeing failed governance, revolt and accountability are likely to be safely received.

Just as criminals fromLibya seek to absolve themselves of accountability in order to escape conviction, protesters of Occupy Wall Street are exercising stalwart personal conviction in order to help bring accountability toWall Street, Oakland and elsewhere inAmerica.

Obviously, it is not in society’s interest when people act with impunity, whether as individual dictators or cloaked as corporate persons. There must be accountability for one’s actions.

As Anthony Accetta has noted in his book, You The Jury: How Wall street Cashed in on the American Dream and Nearly Killed it, “What is not deterred becomes an incentive.”

Ignored justice incentivizes corruption which over-pressurizes an otherwise healthy, democratic system capable of absorbing conflict and translating it into productive reform.

When unjust actions persist and cannot be defended against the collective sensibilities of a fair society, then they and those who engage in them are bound to be brought to justice.

The longer the oppressive conditions persist and the greater the systemic resistance to reform, the more robustly fairness and justice will be sought by the oppressed.

When masses rise against a prevailing but failing system, whether that system is one of Libyan, Syrian, American or other making, the reasons behind individual dissent should not be lost through a distorted view of mass revolt, which can cloud resolvable issues and shift the focus from productive action to one of disproportionate defense.

Accountability summoned through conviction… is this not the engine of reform which spontaneously generates from within as well as without?

Conditions giving rise to dissent can be managed and made into a benefit for all stakeholders, simply through the tandem actions of awareness and adaptation.

Unexamined resistance from opposing parties typically confounds forward movement and only compounds conflict.

The telling convergence here is: With or without asylum, with or without generators, the quest for accountability will fuel conflict wherever it goes unmet.