The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Kids are Alright

So apparently, some of the businesses neighboring Zuccotti Park are finding Occupy Wall Street to be a drag. A few specified instances you can sympathize with--local restaurants who have had toilet paper and/or soap stolen, one business who had a sink broken), but I have to say that a lot of it comes off as the whining of the privileged. A mother (a psychologist no less), who is concerned that "she had to shield her toddler from the sight of women at the park dancing topless"? Like that memory'll haunt the poor little tyke as a childhood trauma? Or the fact that "[t]oddlers have been roused from sleep just after bedtime by chanting and pounding drums"? I'm sure it's an irritant, but you're living in a business district; New York City doesn't shut down by toddler bed time. And the notion that the Park (a concrete oval dotted with benches and food trucks) is a green refuge is pretty laughable.

I walk by Zuccotti Park twice a day on my way to and from work, and, I admit it, I've been curious enough to go in a couple times, to try to see what the crowd is like, what they're doing. They're sweeping up after each other, distributing warm clothes and sleeping bags, sharing books ("the People's Library"), and even barbering--I saw one man giving another a classic old-school shave). They're friendly, and eager to talk. Even though I'm all conservatively suited up, nobody has assumed I'm the Enemy--in fact, there are people in business suits in the park. I've been amused by some of the signs--"Ayn Rand was a Sociopath" got a grin from me, and a "second the motion!"--and touched by some of the stories. There are graduates who can't get work, and are lumbered with undischargeable debt, workers who have been laid off, and Americans, young and not-young, who have seen policy emphasize saving the powerful entities that got us into this mess while failing to act to ameliorate the human suffering caused by their recklessness. I saw discussions beginning, and a sluggish media slowly beginning to take notice

The First Amendment is in full flower at Zuccotti Park, and that's a good thing.

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