Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Occupation is Born: A View from the Outside In

What a beautiful day… to start a peaceful revolution!

Today was a beautiful day, the finest autumn has to offer: sunny, breezy, cool in the shade but warm in the sun – jacket weather for sure, but no “finger-sicles” or “toe-sicles.”

No better backdrop than fall sunshine and the wide open space at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati to make a plan for taking a stand against so much that’s going wrong in our nation.

I had no expectations when I went to an organizational meeting today for Occupy Cincinnati other than to learn more, and to finally get off my duff and do something – sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to fix this mess wasn’t going to cut it anymore.  I believe if you’re not willing to take action, you forfeit the right to bitch, and I’m not about to give THAT up anytime soon – there’s just too much to be angry about!

So I went.  And you know what I found?  Just a bunch of regular people.  A microcosm of the community at large, a cross-section with almost every subculture and demographic group represented.  Adults from 20ish to 60ish, students, professionals, skilled tradespeople and more.  People, with or without children, with day jobs, night jobs, multiple jobs or no job.

I didn’t get to talk to everyone, but from what I saw and heard there is a broad swath of skills and expertise in almost any field—from electrician to attorney, from financial services to food service, and many things in between.  There is a role to play for the artistic, the analytical, the “off-the-cuff” and the organized, the introvert and the extrovert, those who “know people,” and those who only know they want to make a difference.

There were those who have protested for other causes, and there were plenty of others who, like me, have never done anything like this before, but who know that the luxury of doing nothing is not a luxury we can afford anymore.  It turns out we never could.

Now we know better, and today, a group of us decided to do better.  For ourselves, our families, our communities and our country. 

Our cause?  We’re working to define it, but here’s my best stab at a start:
We are the 99%.  We are people who have watched while 1% of Americans flourished economically while the rest of us withered on the vine in spite of our best efforts.  We have witnessed our government’s inability to address our legitimate complaints-- about fraud, abuse of the system, and policies that fly in the face of our beliefs --because the 1% now controls the agenda and the action (or lack thereof).

We did everything we were supposed to do, and yet we lose.  And until now, we had no voice.
The one thing we, in all of our exquisite individuality, have in common: We know the system is broken, and the status quo is not an option anymore.

We are the 99%.  We WILL be heard.

Editor's note: If you are attending any of these Occupy rallies across the country, I'd like to hear from you. Drop me an e-mail.