Mind the Gap–The One Hundred Percent

I remember the beginning of The Occupy Movement; first came the stories, little blurbs on the news. People started talking and it grew and grew and what started in a park in New York City spread like wildfire and many cities, one of them my town of Portland, Oregon joined in the protests.  It was new and exciting and no one could seem to know what to make of it.

I was stoked! I am a firm believer of Power to the People and all that. The whole movement had this air of fresh hopefulness. Looking back now I think I saw what I wanted to see; a grassroots effort leading to something big and changing the world. I admit that I am a sucker for that sort of thing.

However, I was not as exuberant about the methods of the movement which struck me as unsustainable. The entire concept of occupying didn’t sit well with me. I was cautious. I was afraid the fledgling movement would just make some noise, spiral out of control and then die on impact.

I wrote about the movement back then. I pleaded with the protestors in a series of posts, to be careful. I knew they needed a leader and I was hoping one would emerge…

To my dismay a leader did not step forward and the movement, like a chicken with its head cut off, ran around and around in circles making a huge mess and then just up and died. There seemed to be no clear goals or agenda, just occupying.

I visited the Portland camp a few times.  I remember the people there. The hopeful and the not so hopeful. The extremes of humanity.

I remember the friendly man in the tie dye who welcomed us to the occupation, I remember the art tent, and the free condom jar. I remember the makeshift kitchen and the line of hungry and grateful people.

I remember the teenage girl in white shorts and flip flops, hungry, dirty and cold eating a glazed twist like it was heaven. I wonder what happened to her? I wonder what happened to many of them. I remember their faces. I remember the despondent man in the wheelchair and the little old lady who screamed at us, and the boy with the fancy rat…

I remember the kind people who showed up with a giant urn of coffee and the woman and the little girl who were passing out homemade cookies with the tiny M & M’s.

I also remember the number of obviously homeless and mentally ill staying in the encampment. Many of them seemed to be there just to “make the scene”.  Most were not concerned with equality or social justice. Many just came for a hot meal, and who could blame them? Some came for a party.  It seemed many had nowhere else to go and were just taking advantage of the situation…

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Did the movement accomplish anything beyond becoming a parody of itself? A messy and expensive one at that. The same conditions are present, nothing has changed, our problems have only deepened.

In my opinion one of the core reasons the movement did not meet its objectives is because it had no objectives except to occupy; to take, to seize public and private property in the name of protest and damn everyone else.

We need more togetherness in this world.

The movement alienated the very people whose support it needed; your average citizen. The responsible adult who has bills to pay, perhaps a family to take care of, a job to go to (if they are lucky.) Who has the time or inclination to sit all day in a park and “protest”?  I think frankly the whole thing scared and upset a lot of our citizens. To succeed a movement needs to be inclusive, it needs to bring people together, it needs to solve problems not create more.

Occupy Portland, October 21, 2011

The thoughtful voices calling out for fairness and equality, for rationality, were drowned out by the storm of senselessness the movement became. It became a circus and the media gave us all a front row seat.

The few who truly cared were striving for social change.  I think they may have been in a bit over their heads and for all their lofty ideals and ideas, the practicalities of life got in the way as they have a tendency to do.

Perhaps in all reality, all it was just a bunch of angry and frustrated people, not knowing what to do about being angry and frustrated.

It is easy to sit back and judge. To say it was all for not and that it was a complete and total disaster…but I don’t think it was all loss…

What can we learn from this?

If anything, The Occupy Movement showed us the ugly side of our society. It shed the light on just how many angry and desperate people there are and what they can and will do. It showcased the need for equality and justice and what happens when our safety net of social services gets pulled out from underneath us.

I think recent world events have helped put it all in perspective for me.  What we Americans deem important at the time can look puny in retrospect compared to what people in other countries have to endure. I think many of us, myself included, take our freedoms for granted.

Everyone wants, but no one is willing to work for it…it’s pass the buck, follow the crowd, don’t dare think for yourself and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.

They say revolutions can get messy, I will agree to that but revolutions bring change, The Occupy Movement in this country was no revolution–just a mess.

Life isn’t easy and our problems as a society cannot be solved easily. Our biggest strength as a nation, is our diversity. We live in a land of a million ideas and a million ways. This perspective makes us special and unique and this makes us strong. Whatever and however we solve our problems, and we will solve our problems, requires not just work but it requires…

We the people, by the people, for the people..

.  The Occupy Movement showed us something about ourselves, it showed that We The People are a force to be reckoned with. There is power in strong emotions including anger, but that energy needs direction. True change requires work from all of us.

All 100% of us.

…and this reminds me of a quote. The author is unknown, consider it your typical everyday citizen. It came from a piece of graffiti on The Berlin Wall, it was found and recorded after the fall of that famous wall.

“Many small people, who in many small places, can alter the face of the world.”

The dream is not over, only postponed.

Strawberryindigo.

Based on :Image:Peace Sign.svg, drawn with thi...

Much has happened since The Occupy Movement began….

‘Occupy’ costs U.S. cities at least $13M – USATODAY.com

Occupier’s Occupy woman’s home (citizenjournalistdotorg.wordpress.com)

Cameron Whitten from Occupy Portland to mayoral candidate to hunger strike (photo essay) (photos.oregonlive.com)

Occupy Portland Website (www.portlandoccupier.org)

We The People (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy What Next? (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Standoff (https://strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Moves On (https://strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Portland, October 21, 2011

 What others are saying…

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This was written in response to The Weekly Writing Challenge put on by The Daily Post.

To participate in the challenge, tag your posts with “DPchallenge” or leave a link to your post in the comments. We will keep an eye on the tag and highlight the week’s best posts on Freshly Pressed each Friday.

This week’s theme: Mind The Gap: “As we revisit the events of Occupy Wall Street one year later, or cover the new happenings, some WordPress.com bloggers have begun speaking about what the Occupy Movement does or does not signify for them. For this week’s Mind the Gap, let us know: What does the Occupy Movement mean to you?”

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Occupy The Hilton

I must confess that I have a strong streak of justice running through me coupled with some liberal leanings and a twist of rebellion. I guess I’m just wired that way and at times I am strangely compelled to engage in highly compassionate acts. I am also compelled to “give it to the man” from time to time, so when these pastimes collide,  I reach a sort of nirvana that can stay with me for weeks.

Keeping this in mind, I know it will be of no surprise to you that I have recently joined the occupy movement. Well not actually the occupy movement per se… frankly all those occupyists scare me a bit but they do inspire me. I have taken it upon myself to engage in my own impromptu occupation.

Remember those 1% people, those horrible rich people; the ones who are responsible for all the evil in the world?  Those nameless, faceless masses of corporate conglomeration…

I think they need to be sent a lesson that we the 99% are not taking it anymore and that we are fighting back until the playing field is more level.  And we, well, I will be occupying a symbol of their opulence and greed… and what better place to occupy that than the penthouse suite of the Hilton?

I know you are thinking this plan may be a wee bit on the radical side. I agree but I cannot see any other way to bring attention to my, our cause.  I feel that I could become an inspiration to all the overworked and overlooked huddled masses yearning to breathe free. (Isn’t America great!)

I will have to make the sacrifice and live among those nasty one percenters and I will do so until all my comrades on the street, all the neglected, the poor, the tired and rejected and the rest of humanity (plus some select cats) get to live in the same luxury as we Hilton dwellers.

I will point out at this point that I am willing to make further sacrifices and I am an easy sell-out and not above blatant bribery. Any nicer hotel in the Portland area will do. (imagine the great publicity this hotel would get…hint, hint)

I’m planning on staging a sort of John Lennonish bed-in with signs and reporters minus the Ono (sorry Yoko)  and Amsterdam (sorry me) to protest all the unfairness in the world. I will sing songs of love and peace and do it all in my P.J’s and take naps on the side. (I hear the beds are super comfy)

Of course it won’t be easy. I will have to live off room service and will have to find somewhere to go each day while my suite is being cleaned.  I suppose I will have to use the spa and the pool and watch some pay per view movies…I am prepared for these eventual sacrifices..very prepared.

My list of demands are as follows:

  • 24 hour room service
  • Maid service with nightly tuck down and Andes mints on my pillow.
  • A nice white terry plush robe.
  • Ritzy rich people stuff from the gift shop
  • Giant fruit baskets and exotic root beers from all over he world
  • A wireless connection
  • A superb view of the city
  • Jacuzzi
  • Free coffee and baby soaps
  • Decedent chocolate desserts
  • Complementary newspapers
  • Free domestic calls
  • Laundry service
  • And most importantly; a breakfast buffet with a yummy omelet station……No I mean equality for all and omelets too!

Unlike other protests and protestors, there will be no drum circle, or mobs of angry people blocking the street. There will be a minimum of noise, perhaps some light jazz or classical music playing in the background. There will be no damage inflicted anywhere or mess to clean up; just a few damp towels, empty bottles of bubble bath and the traces of many chocloate desserts left behind.

I do not think I am being unreasonable here. It will be a win-win situation for us all.

Frankly and honestly…At this point I don’t care if it’s a Motel 6 with a private bath and a vending machine outside the door.  What really matters is the principle of the thing.

I need a vacation..I mean, we the people need a vaction and equality too and all that good stuff.

And so this very weekend I will showing up at the Hilton, bags in hand, ready for my protest.  You may join my protest..just show up at the nicest hotel in town with your demands..tell them Strawberryindigo sent you and have your visa card ready…

HAPPY PROTESTING!!!

Strawberryindigo.