Three miles from home, over the Brooklyn Bridge and into the Financial District. OccupyWallStreet needs sleeping bags and food, and could do without the pepper spray and police batons.
News coverage is obsessed with the movement’s lack of message. ‘Where are their demands?’ ‘What do they want?’ These journalists are clearly more comfortable in a room full of CEOs, congressmen, celebutantes – anyone bred to deliver sound bites, than they are with the other 99% of the population.
“Banks got Bailed out. We got Sold out.” They chant.
Later some bop to musicians who play until their fingers are numb and their voices hoarse. Many hold handmade signs with writing too small to make out from a distance. (You can get a closer look at Wearethe99percent). The agenda on OccupyWallStreet shows no intention of leaving anytime soon. In fact, it scrolls through the fall into next year and continues without an end.
What will come of all this? If it’s a spark than what will it ignite? An older Russian man said this is how it was before the Soviet Union fell, and that feels like an odd comparison, right? We’re already a democracy and all, “land of opportunity”. What more could we want than our freedom?
Then you step closer and read the small cluttered signs of those who have slept on the sidewalks for days. They’ve lost their homes. I know people who have lost their homes. They have no health insurance and need doctors. Me neither! Me, too! And we all owe money, mostly to the same banks that got a bail out.
AT least I know my head is not the only one spinning from elected “leaders” hysterically pointing blame. The air inside a pit is sparse. It gets harder to breathe when decisions are informed by scarcity. And when scarcity starts to become the new norm it’s human nature to take to the street peaceful, but persistent because hunger and poverty and sickness will not do.
The scene and its energy reminds me of the Greil Marcus book Lipstick Traces and this quote:
The music came forth as a no that became a yes, then a no again, then again a yes: nothing is true except our conviction that the world we are asked to accept is false. If nothing was true, everything was possible.