The air is chilled tonight as the #OccupyKC protestors gather together in the park beneath Liberty Memorial. I arrived in time to sit in on their general assembly meeting. Even with a small gathering here in Kansas City, they are showing their solidarity with the protestors across the US and abroad. They relay their messages by repeating them in mass and use the same hand gestures to maintain order that are being used across the country.
I am impressed by the organization they have managed inside a group this diverse, with members ranging across the board in their ethnicity, age and social background.
Tonight’s meeting, falling on day 12 of the movement, is just a planning meeting to get things a little more organized for the bigger weekend event coming this weekend on International Solidarity Day.
As I’ve been writing they have resolved the issue of camping by having private land volunteered for use just a few blocks away. The group is determined, they plan to make the long haul here, and they’ve accepted that with winter coming in KC, it is time to start supplying their siege.
I’m having a hard time with it all.
I have a hard time with protests in general. Part of me always thinks it is a huge waste of time, and resources that could be better spent actually effecting change, but I am coming to understand why it is important. I’ve never believed in going out and protesting just to protest. I don’t like the idea of spending time with no direction, no goals. My opinion is changing though. I’m beginning to understand that the important part of it is being seen and recognized. I once complained about the silent majority being taken for granted in this country, and I shouldn’t complain now that they are starting to use their voices.
This is, after all, exactly what I wanted for the country. I wanted people to stand up and say, “We’re sick of taking all this bullshit, and we’re not going to do it anymore!” I want America to stand up and use their God given rights to speak for themselves. I suppose it never really occurred to me that they wouldn’t exactly be spouting my personal beliefs and propaganda. In a way that makes me as bad as some of the other people in our media.
I won’t stop covering them, though. When I read today that the mainstream national media was ordering a blackout on all of the Occupy movements across the country, going so far as to ignore the police attacks on the Occupy Boston Protestors, I got angry. I knew that I had an obligation to get out there and make sure these people were getting seen and heard.
Not Here to Judge
I don’t know what this will matter in the long run. I don’t know if it is too late for the American system to get better. I have to believe that it can. I want to believe that it can. I look around at the country and see what the Tea Party movement has brought us, and I think, these people are just as many, just as loud, and a little more directed. I know that they can bring change to this country, and I want to see it thrive.
It takes both sides to achieve greatness. There is no one side to a conflict, and there is no one answer for the millions of people that live in the US or the billions of people that live around the world.
For too long we’ve had one extreme or the other. It’s been the loudest voice, deciding what they think is best for all of us. Those with the most money controlling how we think.
All I’m asking for is the conversation. This many people standing up and demanding it gives me hope that it will finally happen.