It had been a few weeks, and too long, since I went to Zuccotti Park in the financial district of Manhattan to check out the Occupy Wall St. scene. So I hopped on the subway, and made my way to the Ground Zero of the nascent awakening of the masses. I wanted to walk with people like me, who'd been so numbed by too many decades of governmental abuse of power and lack of empathy, and seduced by food porn and fantasy football leagues and divided by demonically cynical political operatives who keep the Have Nots from coming together by keeping them at odds fighting social issues, to properly the protest the massive ground they've lost in the last 40 or so years.
In the last three or so weeks since I hit Zuccotti, I'd been keeping tabs on what was going on there by reading the NY Post.
That's a joke, as the NY Post is a joke, basically a full-on propaganda rag to advance the Rupert Murdoch agenda.
No, but seriously, I do read the Post everyday, as I am a fan of their snappy delivery found in some of their sections, if not the ultra far right talking points presented as objectively-presented news in the "news" and editorial sections. And for the past few weeks, as the Post, and all the other soul-less propaganda outlets, Fox News, the vile racist, sexist blatherings of the Limbaughs, have done their best to undermine and smear the Zuccotti happening and the whole Occupy uprising, I found items in the paper that sent my blood pressure into danger zone.
They started off, when they realized that the movement was going to flame out quickly, by insinuating that the OWS movement was nothing more than a modern day Nazi party orgy, a collection of Jew haters who weren't really rallying against income inequality, and a restoration of rule of law for all, with none above the law, but were actually just anti Semites who hated Jew bankers. And I was disturbed when I had a couple "lefties" come to me and tell me they were disturbed by the anti-Semitism at Zuccotti. I responded by asking if they'd been to the park (they hadn't) and gently telling them that there are bound to be some bad eggs in any batch, and that the times I was there, I didn't see a hint of evidence of anti-Semitism.
From the virtual get-go, smug haters, like those seen on the CNBC channel, dismissed the protestors as a collection of rag-tag hippy dirtbags who blew off showering. In the bubble in which these folks exist, empathy is absent, so they had no clue that their mockery painted them as elitist hatemongers, character and class assassins masquerading as journalists. They sent my blood pressure up another notch.
In the last week or so, the Post has upped the ante, calling for NY Mayor Bloomberg to quash the Zuccotti gathering, which on Wednesday I saw has turned from a campground into a true Tent City. That to me signaled that these committed patriots are in it to win it, are digging in to fight for what is right, for fairness, for a political process freed from malignant corporate meddling, for a more sensible distribution of income which doesn't leave the 99% scrambling for the crumbs while the Goldman Sachs types gorge themselves on an obscene feedbag of earnings and capital gains and the like. The Post and company have been switching up their reasons for shutting down the movement, because they can't advertise their true reasoning, that they think the upper crust deserve every bit they accrue and those that aren't rich are poor because they are lazy sponges who should just get a frickin' job. Often, they'd be up in arms about hygiene, whining that the park is sea of urine within an island of excrement, when the only thing that ought to be flushed is their ideology, which exists as testament to their ability to skillfully rationalize their rampant greed and modify it into substitutes palatable for public consumption and their own pea-sized consciences.
I admit I'm tempted to say that I'm ashamed I share a profession with many of the hacks and designated hitters for the Murdoch agenda who write for the Post..Oh hell, I'll say it. I AM ashamed to share a profession with the Andrea Peysers of the Post, and the Michael Goodwins and Amber Sutherlands and Rebecca Rosenbergs and Bob Fredericks and Larry Celonas and Jamie Schrams and Helen Freunds and Todd Venezias and Kirstan Conleys and Rebecca Harshbargers, and Kevin Fasicks and Julia Marshs and Sally Goldenbergs and..you get my drift. (Now, let me pop in a parenthetical and say that I may have a couple of these guys pegged wrong. One or two or more might be the "good guys" over there, people trying to counterbalance the tone of the angry, white right which dominates the Murdoch empire. If I have one or more you guys assessed wrong, I'm sorry. But basically, my take is, if you don't condemn, then you condone.) When a Post "reporter" goes to Zuccotti, by and large, they go there with a preset notion of what they want to find, and they darn well find it. They are going to present the scene at the park as a lawless, grimy, dangerous, drug infested, rape-prone one, made up of grifters, hippies, slobs, and sponges. And while doing so, they deny the facts that I've seen when I was there: that the people there are young and old, rich and poor, black and white, sane and crazy, smart and less smart, educated and uneducated, clean and dirty.
Everything and basically everyone is represented at Zuccotti, and they are tied to together by a common theme or couple of threads, which is what scares the bejesus out of the power brokers in charge now. They all want a sense of fairness and decency and law and unselfishness and shared sacrifice to be restored in America, and they want to change the system of government which allows the tiny sliver of those with the most money to have a hold on all the levers of power.
That's what I saw when I visited the park on Day 54 of the movement.
--I saw a Tent City, a cluster of so many tents that there are only a few paths inside the park for people to make their way through. These people are mad as hell, aren't going to take it anymore, and are here for the long haul. Get used to that, Posties.
--I saw young people there making t-shirts, which said "I Occupy NY," and I chatted with the young man who started this business, Davis S. from New Jersey. He'd been vending at Zuccotti for two days, and he was asking for suggested donations, since he didn't have a vendor's license. The Posties would've found this kid and tried to stir up trouble, making it appear as if the movement was fractured because David was trying to sell t-shirts. Eff that. David told me he and couple pals, who are unemployed, are going home with a few bucks in their pockets, and contributing to the local economy. He said he wants health care for all, cheaper education and campaign finance reform. The Post would've seen a opportunistic sponge; I saw a smart, articulate youngster fighting for a better America.
--I saw a 40-something man who said he came from Florida 25 days ago, after he saw those ladies pepper sprayed by coward cop Anthony Balogna. He's lost 11 pounds in that time, because the commissary is meatless, he said. But he'll stay, because he thinks the majority of the people in the world are poor, and wants a worldwide general strike, so the Haves get the message.
--I saw a good neighbor policy written out, which calls for respectful dialogue and zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol and a call for respect for property and proper hygienic practices and such. Not much mention of that in and on your Murdoch outlets, eh?
--I saw a sign that said, "We're Here, We're Unclear, Get Used To It." Amen. The angry white right can't find one leader to smear and it infuriates them to no end.
---I saw a sign that read, "You can't put a barricade around ideas." Again, amen. We fear the lure of the Internet and wonder if we'll all be social retards because we only interact virtually. But information is now more available to the masses and I have to believe truth and reality will eventually win after the Fox News Kool-Aid sippers die off.
--I saw, yep, some people you might see as crackpots. I saw a guy in a horrid toupee pedaling a bike which was charging a battery pack. It looked a little goofy, but who am I to judge? A Postie would've seen it snarked a whole column out of it.
---I saw a woman named "Jo," from New Orleans. She'd been there for three weeks, and came to represent her city, which had been a Shock Doctrine victim. She wants us all to move beyond divisive communication. I get her point. When two sides clash on abortion and gay marriage and such, the right giggles, because then we can't come together on common economic issues which bind the 99%. Good point, Jo, thanks for reminding me.
--I saw another person I'd call a crackpot point at a guy carrying a sign smearing a chief at a local hospital, alleging he molested a boy, and screaming that the sign-holder was a, "Jew hating racist." Yes, in a gathering of this sort of tribe, there will be some unhinged folks. Get over it Posties. If you can't handle it, go back to your warm, safe bubbles. And pray Rupert's phone-hacking scandal doesn't leave you jobless, and commiserating with some of the folks you cruelly deride.
--I saw a working group discussing media relations strategy. One man said that certain issues shouldn't be brought up, another said nothing should be off limits. A truer form of democracy totally absent from our federal system is in place at Zuccotti and it it mocked by the Posties. Government actually by and for the people, soundly mocked by the Murdoch mob. That tells you where they stand.
--I saw a park that didn't smell at all of urine or excrement. Imagine that, the Post and other tear-down artists are maybe playing up that hygiene angle to help de-legitimize the movement? And if the Mayor or anyone plays the cleanliness card, I suggest they start with the NYC subway stations, which stink of piss and sometimes excrement far worse than Zuccotti does. Let's get real, shall we?
--I saw hundreds of people who want change, for the common good. I saw people who deserve a bunch more respect than any yahoo, always an employed person who doesn't have to sweat being unemployed, or their health insurance getting cut off, who barks, "Just get a job!" at them. I saw folks who were peaceful, and who appeared to me to be more grounded in reality than the Wall St barons who don't understand why anyone would find it repellent that CEOs make 343 times as much as the average worker. At Zuccotti Park, Day 54, I saw a brighter future for the nation.