Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life during #occupation

Zuccotti Park, where the actual occupation of Wall Street is going on, was once known as Liberty Plaza. Liberty Plaza was very near to the former World Trade Center Towers which collapsed on 9/11/2001.

Maybe you've heard of those towers?

Like everything in America following 9/11, Liberty Plaza lost some liberty. Brookfield Properties bought the land shortly after the collapse of the Twin Towers, rebuilt the plaza then renamed it Zuccotti Park after company board chairman John Zuccotti.

Some still call it Liberty Plaza. Some still call sauerkraut 'liberty cabbage.' We always insist on clinging to old notions.

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Speaking of liberty, a Jewish woman from the 1800s once wrote this: "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"

Those words are etched into a tablet on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Those words are followed by this: "Give me your tired, your poor/ your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ the wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me..."

Lady Liberty currently lifts her skirts and shrieks whenever one of these huddled masses pass her. She, though still going by the last name of Liberty, acts as if she's seen a mouse whenever someone seeking liberty approaches her.

She's either unsettled by the huddled masses, or upset that her land now prefers the storied pomp of other countries over those countries' teeming shores of homeless.

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Liberty lifts her skirts up so much that she's shutting down--again--to regain her composure.

After 9/11, Ms. Liberty had a complete mental collapse, and all access to her head was denied. It's barely been two years since we were finally allowed back into the poor woman's head, and she's now shutting down again.  Two years with our madness- our guns and our pepper-spray and our angry tourists yearning to breathe stale Hudson air. She needs another break.

Probably for the best. Liberty must be preserved, not assaulted.

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Having been to a few #OWS events, I can say this: they are nothing like the Tea Party rallies I attended in 2009. Most of the signs lack the requisite amount of misspellings (those misspellings are a necessity at Tea Party rallies--how else could a Teabagger demonstrate the proper amount of homeschooling?).

Also, there's a sense of cooperation at #OWS rallies that was missing from Tea Party rallies. Example: At one of the Tea Party rallies I went to, an invited speaker--through a city-approved amplification system--spoke of the great things New Yorkers managed to do when they worked together. An inspiring speech, really. And rather than cheer, the members of the audience shouted back, "Screw Roosevelt!" or "Impeach Schumer!" or "Obama is a Communist!"

By contrast, the #OWS crowd, denied an amplified sound system, shout this: "Mic check!"

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There are few guns at #OWS. And the few guns in attendance are wielded by law enforcement agents. Contrast that with the Tea Party rallies.

Also, contrast this: #OWS protest the government's lapse in responsibility to its citizens. The Tea Party protest the citizens' lapse in responsibility to its corporations.

At the Tea Party rallies, I have never before seen such anger at an individual's right to demand affordable health care. At a #OWS rally, I have never seen such anger at a corporation's resistance to provide an affordable service.

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There is still liberty in America. And cabbage.

And while first we won our own freedom with a gun, most of our best domestic battles have since been fought through persistence, insistence, and peaceful resistance. Meaning, never take a gun to a health care fight.

And never take a Lincoln to the theatre. Especially if it's a Chekhov play--that gun mentioned in Act One will come down by Act Three and you'll have to spend the rest of your night in the ER lobby. And people in the South will be reenacting that ER visit for the next century and a half.

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Also, you can keep Americans out of the head of Liberty,  but you can't keep liberty out of the head of Americans.

Yes, I really just wrote that last line. I am just as surprised as you--it's so 10th grade social studies essay-ish that I must actually mean it.

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