We have Occupants here in Eugene as well, a peaceful mass of them; their demands are few beyond the right to peacefully assemble. They want to show their solidarity and common ideology with those who occupy Wall Street; among them are intellects, students, the homeless--they are young, middle-aged and old, amongst the throng wade the Fates I am sure. I think often that I should swell their ranks, if only by one, but draw back because I know not what platform upon which to stand. I understand the frustration with the financial system in our country, I understand the need for a change to the system; I am enraged by our political system and its largess, we need an instantaneous revolution that is led by the citizenry, not those who "represent" us; I understand the frustration, ennui & depression that our citizens wear upon their faces, for this much to show so clearly in our eyes I wonder how deeply these emotions are rooted. I pause at the steps because I feel--strike that-- I know, that I am as much a part of the problem as the solution; I'm left waffling because I know I've done wrong and part of me feels as though this is the "There will be hell to pay" part. I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone; every news report that I listen to states that there are millions of Americans enraged at the current state of the financial system, yet, just like election time, all those millions fail to turn up and make themselves heard. We see Occupants on the news, we sympathize, we shake our heads in silent agreement with their cause and then we go on. We do the same thing on election days; I wonder how many of the politicians that are currently in office--any office mind you, from drain commissioner to mayor to governor to president would continue to hold their office if 100% of the registered voters in this country showed up and cast their vote? We are given a role in the process and we still let the minority decide, the numbers are not quite as skewed as the 99% vs. 1%, but they may as well be...
I listen to NPR on and off throughout the day most days; sometimes I start my morning with a dose of their news programs, sometimes I don't tune in until mid-afternoon, still other times I don't hear what's happening until I prop open my Mac and stream while prepping dinner. It's safe to conjecture that at some point in time on any given day I will garner some kernel of wisdom from their programming. This morning I tuned in en route to the library; the programming was a mixed bag of news, stock market reporting and personal interest dialogues: the market's up (for the next 15 minutes or so), the Italian's are pissed off about proposed austerity measures (hmm, pissed of Italians, who'd have imagined) & the talk which followed called attention to a new HBO documentary about breast cancer (the interview was interesting enough that I might have to see if they'll post the doc on the web) and featured an interview with Atlanta's Mayor about the going's on at the Occupy Atlanta event. Atlanta, like Oakland and a few other cities has begin the process of removing Occupants from its turf; Mayor Reed was quick to point out that the removal in Atlanta was not like that in Oakland, that it was a respectful, carried out in a non-violent and peaceful way. The Mayor's interview is quite interesting to listen to, I hope that you do; he and the interviewer draw correlations between the tactics used in the civil rights movement and those that are being (or not) used by his cities' Occupants. I listened with interest initially, but by interview's end, ultimately had more questions than answers; key to the Mayor's view were the differences between how those involved in the civil rights movement conducted themselves and how the Occupants don't follow the some code of conduct. Mayor Reed states that the Occupants lack of strong leadership, unclear listing of demands and loose comprehension of solidarity fly in the face of the way those in the civil rights movement effected change. I wonder if he paused a moment to consider what the civil rights movement might have looked like had Dr. King's inner circle had the luxury of the cell phone and YouTube? I think of the old television footage that I watched in civics class in school which showed police brutality perpetuated on blacks & whites as they marched in solidarity for change. I wonder if Mayor Reed made a personal attempt, perhaps walked from city hall to Woodruff Park to address Occupants himself rather than sending one of his ambassadors or aides; I wonder if it crossed his mind that he might have to ask to speak, rather that assume that he would be heard--that any of his representatives would be heard.