I have a good feeling about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Maybe this movement will achieve results, maybe not, but what I like is that it has served notice to politicians and bankers that people are paying attention and might not be as pliable as they once thought. This is a good thing.
I've gone down to the Occupy Wall Street Chicago protest area twice now and spent my time chatting with folks there and soaking up the intoxicating ambiance of bringing truth to power. I was pleased at the cross section of citizenry present - it simply isn't just the sort of young slacker operation some in the media paint it as. I was inspired by the idealistic points of view expressed by the folks I talked to. Idealism doesn't always lead to positive results, but idealism, even naive idealism, is always a good thing, always a worthy goal.
While I was downtown the first time, a cop came along and messed with a few protesters, making threats that he would arrest them for unlawful assembly. I had trouble understanding what he was up to. Everything was legal, everybody was behaving. It appeared he was hassling folks just because he could. It was sad and disturbing that he felt the need to stir up trouble where none existed. I ducked around a corner because, like most people, I didn't want to draw his attention in my direction.
Maybe it was a coincidence, but almost every person I chatted with had a connection to the military, either themselves, a child, or a friend. One young man I spoke with was from Michigan, was sleeping on a pew in a downtown church, and was living on one meal a day, just so he could be there. He has enlisted in the army and is a few weeks away from basic training. I was really impressed with the kid (well, he seemed like a kid to me) and hope the future holds much happiness for him. He is serving his country in two ways - by joining the military, and by protesting that we should hold the wealthy and powerful accountable. Bless his heart.
Now comes the news that a young Iraq War veteran was hit by a police projectile at Occupy Wall Street Oakland. The police descended upon a peaceful assembly firing tear gas canisters and now a young guy who made it through two tours in Iraq is in a coma in a hospital just because he protested what he saw as economic injustice. This is heartbreaking. Some people just don't get it.
Read more: Oakland Police Critically Injure Iraq Veteran