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Oct 06

Occupy [Insert Your Favorite Town Here] Thoughts

DC in the fall is truly fantastic. And this comes from a kid who grew up in New Hampshire, the place with arguably the very best autumns you can find.  The weather has that cool to it, leaves start hinting about their color change soon to be arriving, and of course… Congress comes back to town…. eek.

Well, Sparky, looks like some others decided to visit too.

Now as a DCer for a few years now, having visitors – hell, having protestors – is not something unique or earth shattering. In fact, it’s pretty common like seeing a motorcade buzz by or seeing a couple walking around in black tie and gowns from the 1 millionth fundraising gala happening around the city. But this Occupy Wall Street thing….

They talk here and there about it being disorganized. About the fact that their “demands” are hard to decipher. Maybe some in the media are valuing them as “hippies” and “fringe” – but here’s the thing about this kind of event.

Like Arlo Guthrie explained: if one person does it they may think he’s sick; if two people do it…in harmony… (well let’s just skip that one, shall we?); if three people do it they might think it’s an organization; and if fifty people a day… they might think it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is (thanks Arlo).

People are tired of what they here from the Hill in town called Capitol. Members of Congress, whether Ds or Rs, seem to be more concerned with the score than they are at the fact that they’re playing a game no one likes very much. And you know what happens when you run by ESPN2 at 3am thinking “why is bull riding on at this hour?” You change the channel do to lack of interest.

Congress is getting that feeling of a channel ready to be turned.

These people sitting out on Wall Street, and down here in DC at Freedom Plaza, aren’t a single issue parade waiting for an elected official to come out, say something clever, invite their “leader” into his/her office for a “constituent outreach session” of 10 minutes, and then “boom” – all are heading home. This is different. This is more fundamental than politics as usual.

This is the reality of life meeting face-to-face with the gamesmanship of politicians and the political class seeing the scoreboard and not noticing the fact that no one likes the game being played. No one in this expects photo-ops, a great group of pictures to upload for their organization’s annual report, and a new list of really excited emailers… this is more visceral. More purposeful.

Our leaders are failing us not because they don’t know there are challenges that we face right now; they are failing us because they are too worried about the political battle and are missing the cultural war.  Democrats and Republicans and both being seen for what they truly are – political parties. That’s all. Just parties. They don’t represent an “us” and have never really done so. They represent factions designed to both compete with one another as well as balance out one another. By the old thinking (and literally up to and including the latest elections from a federal standpoint) third parties were looked at as “fringe” and “irrelevant” in many ways. But again, this movement isn’t for another political party to start inviting guest to the Big Government Dance – it’s to consider, truly, another way of looking at our politics. Perhaps through a lens of lesser (or no) parties at all.

For as all of us who weren’t quite part of the cool kid clique, we know if you’re not invited to the cool party on the east side of town, and you’re not invited to the cool party on the west side either… just get everyone together who also didn’t get the invite… and party right where you’re at. Cheers Occupy [Insert Your Favorite Town Here], enjoy the festivities. And don’t forget to clean up after yourselves. No one likes to pick up after a fun party. ~DK


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