While You Were Busy Saying Nothing : Occupy

I didn’t think I would say anything about this here. I didn’t think I had to, and maybe I still don’t. Maybe I’ll be the only one reading this at the end of the day. But after seeing the pictures of Scott Olsen this morning, after watching the videos of the flash bang grenades and tear gas being shot at protestors by riot officers in Oakland, and seeing police throw a grenade at those trying to help their still and bleeding friend, I felt like I would be doing myself a disservice by saying nothing.

Something needs to happen. We can’t keep watching these people camp out, night after night, just to have the cops wake them up in the middle of the night with tear gas and dressed in riot gear. Is what they are trying to say unimportant? Is it really so easy to dismiss? How is it that people who would benefit from the things being fought for are the ones kicking these people out in the middle of the night? Shooting them with rubber bullets, smoking them out with gas? Prodding them into fighting back so that the attacks are suddenly justified?

I say “they” but I should be saying “we”. I may not be able to get out there and protest, but they do speak for me.  I am the 99% – we all are. The banks do not speak for me, and yet I feel as though I’ve been letting them.

I am terrified for this country’s future. The media uses words like “frustrated” to describe what this country is feeling but I’m going to let you in on something – we are not frustrated. We are angry. We are livid. Too many of us are working too hard and making too little. Too many of us are starving and being forced out of our homes. Too many of us are being asked to give more than we can afford, while that 1% is asked to give far less than they could.

You may just glance at this before you glance away again. You may be completely uninterested. You may disagree. And that’s fine if you do. But know that those who are on the streets right now, those who are taking those bullets and that tear gas, are not just doing it for themselves.

They’re doing it for all of us.

The riot officer, on his death bed, will be able to proudly proclaim, “I was  a good follower of orders.”

–William Leiren

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