There appears to be mass confusion in the wake of the Brooklyn Bridge crossing yesterday as occurred in New York as part of the Occupy Wall Street marches/protests. The police claim they clearly informed people that they could not cross the main bridge. Others (many others) claim that the police told them nothing, and even appeared to be escorting them across the main traffic span of the bridge. Whatever the case, all can agree that the bridge was blocked off to traffic for some hours, and that it was related to the protest. However, I ask that everyone try to NOT assume guilt on any one side or the other. I’ve already blessed out a dear friend in the Armed Forces for a sneering, presumptive denouncement (which I found completely out of line for one serving to protect freedom of speech… and y’know, also having a safety net where these people don’t.), and done my best to mediate out friends who are latching on to the suggestion that it was purposeful and malignant.
I will add that I’ve had word from one of my friends who was arrested last night. He confirmed that there was a high degree of confusion – that the intent was the cross the bridge, and get to the park beyond. He also confirmed that the police behaved appropriately and treated all the detainees in his lot with kindness (outside of them being detained in a cell block so old and unused that it was filled with late 80s graffiti – horror! 80s!). While obviously tired after the ordeal, he exemplifies the ideals of the protest by still supporting the police and wanting them to not get screwed over, to see them get the pensions and benefits they deserve.
This is what America and Americans need and deserve – love and compassion for their brother man (sister woman). They/we deserve to have a basic quality standard of life, and no – it’s not ‘communism’ to work together and want the same basic decent things for everyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a safety net, and you know – I even owe an apology to the British for calling them whiny and stroppy for their protests as of this year. I still think you/we (as I’m one of you now, yay!) have a fantastic safety net. I, on further thought, can even understand the severity of the response – you’re worried most fairly that it could get America bad. The land of the broke and the passive, the land of the poor and the scared – it’s been a horrible progression to watch. I still don’t think the violence and looting were called for, and the sense of entitlement is staggering when you already have so much, but believe you me – there is some modicum of compassion now.
And me, if I were there? I’d be protesting in the name of mental health. While I don’t necessarily hate capitalism or anything, I fully abhor a market built on making people feel bad, and then exploiting that to make them buy things in an attempt to fill the void they put there in the first place. I abhor that the concept of good mental health is swept under the rug, and that those of us with depression or anxiety or other problems just need pills or a swift kick in the ass. It doesn’t work like that, and I suspect most people saying those sort of things are hiding their own problems from themselves. I’ve definitely been guilty of it before, and being human, I’ll probably screw up that way again. So it goes.
In the meantime, I offer you this:
We Are the 99 Percent
If you can read that without tearing up a bit, I probably don’t want to know you. I’m a hard-ass meanie and think anyone that’s gone to college in the past decade (if not longer) wasted their money terribly, but I don’t wish any of these people ill. I am proud of them for having the strength to stand up and say, ‘Me too. My everything sucks too, and I’m not going to pretend it’s otherwise now.’ This is true bravery, and I hope we all get to see a better day soon.