Ramble On

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visiting #OccupyDC - part 2

Today, the second part of my visit to the #occupyDC locations last Friday.  There are actually three sites, I'm told - but I only made it to two of them.

In the post yesterday I mentioned that I'd found the message by these protesters to be fairly consistent. Hearkening back to the 1992 election for a good way to sum it up: "It's about the economy, stupid!"  The protests and demonstrations are focused on industries and policies that the occupiers believe are part of the reason we're in the sluggish economic state we're in.

When I came back from McPherson Square, the location featured in today's post, I walked back by Freedom Plaza, the site I posted on yesterday.  My breath was taken away by the sight of the Capitol Building rising from the Hill down Pennsylvania Avenue, so I stopped to compose another photo.

As I did, another person made a stop for a photograph also.  After he said, "That's quite a view, isn't it?"  We struck up a conversation. 

The first topic for me was one of irony - at McPherson Square, I'd seen the signs below, which lay in the grass.  One hit home in particular, which said, "over educated, under employed."  I'd just been informed I would be laid off last week, effective this week, and that sign was positioned approximately 20 feet from a park bench where I negotiated my first post-MBA job after returning to Washington from Los Angeles. 

My next remark to my fellow traveler there was to discuss the fact that at least with this group, I'd found a consistent message.  He was skeptical, and even gave me the stink eye. 

The message here is definitely consistent when you compare it to the Tea Party message of a couple of years back (you pick the one you think they stood for):

  • Don't socialize my Medicare
  • No need to pay taxes to upkeep the institutions we all rely on
  • God hates fags
  • Oh no, our president is a black man
Although I didn't start on this bit of politics with my colleague, these were part of my thoughts for the day.  There are so many criticisms of this movement...one of which concerns a perceived lack of focus, again, something I didn't see during my visit.  As we parted ways, he said, "Good luck."

Another observation I had - the number of Vietnam references I found among the "artifacts" in the two encampments.  In fact, there were quite a few Vietnam-era veterans amongst the crowd. 

There is one thing that does bother me about the OWS movement - and that's only because so far I don't understand why it's happening -  and that is the violence that is being reported at some of the demonstrations, especially in Oakland. 

I hope to take another look at that in a future post.

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