Weekly Writing Challenge: Occupy What? Why?

Hmmm… This week’s Challenge will be extra challenging because in general I do not participate in or pay attention to political anything. In fact, I have been mulling about a post, “Things I Will Never Write About” and on that list was going to be politics. (I do vote, but that’s about it.)  But I am committed to this Weekly Writing Challenge thing, so here we go…

First, I didn’t care for any of the poll answers:

What does the Occupy Movement mean to you?

~I’m all for it, and even participated in some local events
~It’s a nice idea, but I don’t think protests do anything
~I don’t support it at all, and disagree with the idea

I guess I’m somewhere in between “It’s a nice idea….” and “I don’t support it at all…” Mostly because I can’t say I disagree with the idea or not since I wasn’t really paying any attention to what the original idea was… Have I mentioned I don’t read the news? That might be new information. I used to read the paper every day. For years, I started every day with the front section (news), the local section (news), the columns (the heart), the comics (fun!) and maybe a puzzle or two. A good thirty minutes all to myself each morning. Sigh.

Then, well as I’ve mentioned before, life just gets in the way sometimes. At some point, I must have gone on a trip, and saved the papers to read on my return. That worked for the first few trips, but eventually there was a trip that I couldn’t quite catch up after. I mean we had two stacks of papers waiting for me to “process” when time allowed. Only time never allowed. Eventually, I just had to come to terms with the fact that that habit was over. Done. Finished. Since I’m really not a hoarder — although Prince Charming would like to dispute that fact — the papers had to go. So did my subscription. These days I only catch the news online while passing through my Yahoo portal to my email. Which is to say, not much.

If if affects me directly, I pay attention; otherwise, I’m ashamed to say I have no real idea what’s happening beyond the immediacy of my County, and certainly nothing beyond my beloved State of California. I know, spank me. I’ll take a licking and keep on ticking. Thus, the only news I had of the Occupy Movement was what came to my attention at work.

The original idea as I understand it was something about the Wall Street money grubbers were bad, and the good citizens were occupying otherwise unused real estate to draw attention to their agenda. That’s off the top of my head without any real research, because I’m trying to keep it personal here.

As the movement crept across the country and gained momentum, eventually of course it landed in my backyard. And, here’s where I really draw back away from the idea of protests in general: most protests are attended by paid protesters. Paid. Protesters. College students with time and ideals, working to make a buck. They are bussed in by the organizers of the movement, who are generally backed by someone who has money and their own agenda. Hey, more power to ’em, I’m all about earning a living… until it interferes with my equal right to earn a living.

So, protesters who block access to “large” institutions — banks and the like — to their every day employees like you and me and baby makes three? Nope, I have no patience. Sorry. Because those big conglomerate corporations employ: people. Actual human beings just trying to make a living like everyone else. Is there room for improvement in their regulation and financing? Sure, but don’t make that happen by making it hard for me to find and keep a job, eh?

Now what happened in my little corner of the world was this: Rohnert Park (where I work) really doesn’t have a “downtown.” (Well, didn’t. They’re working on it and we now have a lovely City Center Plaza.) Petaluma (where I live) has a downtown and had a few daily protests, but no real problems as far as I knew — given that I don’t go downtown much except at the Holidays.

Santa Rosa — our County seat — got hit, and hit big. The Santa Rosa City Council tried to bring order to the chaos by issuing “camping” permits for the protesters. (They were camping out in the downtown plaza area.) Within a day or two, the Council scrapped that idea because “Most went to homeless people will little connection to the leaderless political movement denouncing Wall Street greed.” (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Monday, December 12, 2011.) Did you catch that? Most of the “protesters” were our local transients just trying to get some shelter for a few days.

Do you want this in your downtown? (From The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.)

Again, I don’t blame them for trying, but that’s not really the point of the movement, is it?

As the protesters became more and more destructive to the area and the safety of the citizens in general, the Santa Rosa police moved to shut the camp down. The protesters were given several days’ notice. Then on the day in question they were given hourly, and then half-hourly warnings to break camp and move along. The police came in and dismantled the camp, and the protesters complained they didn’t get enough notice, and didn’t get to keep their stuff. Well, that wasn’t true; they were given plenty of time to get their stuff and get out, and when they weren’t gone by the deadline they had to leave their stuff behind and get it later from the police department. So sorry. Apparently the rules don’t apply to protesters… which is why I guess I don’t have patience for protests in general, whatever their goal. Protest all you want, but please do it respectfully and preserve my right to peace and tranquility. Thanks so much.