Occupy All the Facepalms
January 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
As you well know by now, I am an artist. But I am not the kind of artist who only hangs out with other artists; in fact most of my closest friends are artists by hobby only, if they are artists at all. One such friend is a cop, which I love and respect about him, but can be a source of conflict when politics are the topic of discussion. While we both belong to groups of largely college educated people performing physical, blue-collar type work, his job-that-spills-into-his-real-life is to serve and protect laws and society as they stand, and my job-that-spills-into-my-real-life is to observe and often question the same. Both are extremely important, but can clearly clash. Discussion of the Occupy movement has been such a source of conflict. As a person who struggles to make ends meet with neither a steady source of income (because the government does not fund the arts) nor affordable health insurance (not at least after I turn 26… thank you Obama healthcare bill), I empathize with the frustration of overeducated, underworked (or overworked, underpaid) people across a country that seems to care more for its corporations than for its citizens. As a police officer, my friend empathizes with policemen across the country who are harassed (sometimes violently) every day by protestors with agendas that are not always pure or aligning with the group with which they are protesting*.
I have always vehemently stood by Occupy, especially whenever my friend would scoff at their antics. But then a couple weeks ago Occupy marched on the Supreme Court. This is the first really big event Occupy has held in DC as far as I was aware, so I paid close attention. And honestly, what I saw was not something I felt I could stand by. I had heard the rumors of people crowd surfing the day before, and when I sat down to watch the videos I was so embarrassed. The woman creating this video, and several people around her, were so clearly searching for conflict, and so clearly misinformed or confused as to their rights to expression on federal property, that instead of pride in my people, all I felt was a great big facepalm.
Example: Woman with a webcam who is way too high up on her horse to realize she’s acting like a total dick:
The frustrations stemming Occupy are real, and important to address. The abuses of corporations on the middle and lower classes are real, and extremely important to bring into a national conversation. But while we’re being real, let’s be real, people. This is not Montgomery, Alabama in 1960. This is not even Tahrir Square in 2010. We have a stable government and our police are, as a group, trustworthy. Protest is a great way to show the people with power who are hiding inside buildings with blinders on that people are upset and demand change. But no one will take you seriously if you’re acting like a spoiled child, if you are acting like you’re at a giant party, or if you’re clearly searching for any reason to become a martyr. Control yourself; it’s embarrassing.
Example: destroying property bought by our tax dollars to protest/party on the grounds of a federal building, which is (rightly**) against the law:
*Also run-of-the-mill jackasses, but that’s a different story
**Because, um, I’m not tryna deal with tea partiers swarming my federal buildings, so it’s only fair to hold my side of the political spectrum to the same standard