October 12, 2011
Occupy NYC this past Sunday
Some of the most interesting things to me about the Occupy New York protests is what they are not. They are not violent and destructive like the recent protests in France and in England. No one is setting fires to cars, attacking people, creating true mayhem (I do not call overstepping sidewalks on the Brooklyn Bridge unbridled mayhem, thank you). No one is mugging people, falling down drunk, terrifying the neighborhoods. For the most part it has been restrained, respectful of the environment, and growing in organization - when my daughter and I went down to Zuccotti Park this past Sunday, we were impressed by the tone and the attitude of most of the people - a lot of old hippies and activists mixed in with the young people, a lot of passion and perseverance. I was offered free hugs, free food, and the day I was there the united clergy of NYC - rabbis, priests, etc. were there in sympathy and support. I have not sang "This little light of mine" for quite some time, it was a pleasure to raise my voice with others.
To be sure, a handful of squatters and stoners that seemed to be taking advantage of the situation - what village does not have its idiots? I was there in support - half of what is termed their vague causes - anger at the bail-outs, anger at the economy, unemployment, our money funneled into wars we don't want to be in, feeling unheeded by government no matter whose face is on the campaign buttons, losing jobs, housing, kids graduating from college with no jobs on the horizon, yup, feeling that. Glad people seem to be shaking off the apathy. Glad to see a mix of faces, ages, groups. Some of the chants/gripes/stands I didn't agree with - but because it is such a big amoebic hundred armed creature there is a lot to choose what to be upset about in our country.
I love my country and I consider myself law-abiding -but I am glad to see movement and thought and visions and that this protest and the ones it has inspired nationwide will definitely affect future politics and get the powers that be to understand that the same old same old isn't going to cut it anymore. I hope the protests become stronger, more defined, but remain peaceful and thoughtful. I hope the press stops focusing on the small shocky bits and tries to aim for the overall theme. I hope we all keep an open mind, listen to the voices calling out, and instead of choosing sides, choose to listen.