1 of 1,500.
That’s the rough ballpark estimate, anyway, around 1,500 protests that have organically blossomed in response to the central Occupy group near Wall Street. This last Saturday saw worldwide marches held in solidarity, and I was fortunate enough to be witness to, and participate in, one of the more far flung outposts, the one in Kansas City, Missouri. Our backdrop was the Kansas City Federal Reserve, a fitting behemoth (also the site of past directorship by the KochCain candidate). A lovely little homemade sign was against the official Fed entrance, insolently stating “Jail the Banksters!”.
I witnessed a cross-section of the population present, no one demographic stood out at all. The speakers took turns and exhibited a gentle egalitarian style, pretty much behaving in a manner the likes of which we haven’t seen for quite some time in this maniacal society, bent on competition, not cooperation. I whispered to my teenage daughter “Glenn Beck thinks these folks will eventually want to kill everyone.” The look on her face was perhaps the best retort to the pulsating lunacy coming from the shill’s mouths. The disconnect from reality that is pouring out from those who actually have media platforms has been extreme the last decade or so, but at this point, it’s as if they aren’t even trying to match their opinions to any observable reality.
Beck also apparently alluded to the entire movement being a Communist plan to destroy America. Me, being more into observable reality, than dry drunk diatribes, saw brave, intelligent people working to stop the Plutocratic destruction of our nation. Beck also said that Obama is actually behind the entire movement. How tedious that Beck advances the mythical Obama narrative — that he is anything less than a Wall Street hedge, groomed to their exact liking.
If there were any doubt left, I think it evaporated on Sunday when Obama had the audacity to proclaim at the MLK monument dedication: “Dr King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there.” Demonize? Is he referring to sweet men like Lloyd Bankfiend who have been able to rig the game, winning on the destruction of Main Street, all the while lying to Congress about it? Oh yeah, and calling it God’s work? And, of course, with no evident jail time looming for any of the co-conspirators? Sure, Mr. Obama, it’s positively gauche to demonize that. As always, he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. In this way, Obama has created a new type of bilingualism.
Or was Obama referring to those humanitarian types working Wall Street — those who by virtue of not being attractive, couldn’t pay for their Social Work degrees through outright prostitution or stripping…. they opted to work on Wall Street just long enough to get through graduate school. You know, the hedge fund guy with a heart of gold!? Okay, fair enough, I haven’t heard of those types either. Probably a better chance of finding el chupacabra on the menu at IHOP than finding a humanitarian Wall Streeter. I don’t think anyone is railing about the couriers, clerks and such employed there, those who are probably treated less than humanely by their “superiors” on the Street.
Obama was just mouthing exactly what agents like Fox News have been spewing. They know that more people support OWS than don’t, so they can no longer come out with a clear punch; they let the outliers like Beck do that. Instead, they give a token “I know people are frustrated” but then end it with a “but don’t blame the culprits; you don’t have a clear message; you’re costing overtime, and you make me uncomfortable” They are throwing pretty much anything they can at the protesters, hoping it will stick. In the convoluted world of pundits and politicos, the protesters are both wildly effeminate and bloodthirsty.
But in the warm, lolling sunlight of late autumn, I was able to listen to speakers, people talking with clarity, perhaps not as polished as our great president, but with the power that comes from truth. One man named Anthony rose up (thankfully not Bologna); he was middle aged and announced from the start that he was an unlikely person to be at the protests. He stated that he still had a job, a good life and even confessed to once being a neocon. He seemed to be sliding back into that world when he mentioned that he also had a shower that morning. The anarchist camp yelled “Cheap shot!” and I tended to agree, but then Anthony redeemed himself with his subsequent words.
He said that he gradually came to the awareness that it was all bullshit, what we’ve been fed by our political leaders. He said that he finally came to the realization that we are all on the same ship and it will certainly break on the beach without a radical change in course. He announced that he now knows that the voices from many directions have merit, including the anarchists. Anthony and the others spoke their own words, not those managed and presented to further the needs of the looters.
This is such a dangerous time for the movement though. There have already been concerns of co-opting; the potential probably rises as the public sentiment grows more in favor of the protests. Then the wild ramblings of the Becks of the world will seem more like reality. We cannot allow that.
It is time for the middle aged of us, the Anthonys (not Bologna) to show up and forge unlikely alliances. It’s time to invest our being in this, and to argue the case with co-workers and friends who may not realize what this awakening moment is about. We need to show up, even after the marches, to find out who is actually camping, and find out what they need to stay warm. In my region the first frost is expected Wednesday morning. I plan on driving down supplies on Tuesday…because if we don’t support them, the void will be filled by groups like the Democratic party or Move On and this is not theirs to claim. Where have they been?
My favorite sign I’ve seen is this: “It’s not Right versus Left, It’s Right Versus Wrong”.
If we stay to this theme, perhaps we can gather up more Anthonys (not Bologna) and forge the kind of organic alliances that stop the major sell-outs in their tracks.
But you are needed, too. Just invent your own methods to help, and above all, don’t be afraid. This is a beautiful moment.