Unwilling to miss two populist opportunities in one day, I headed over to the rally as soon as I could.
I arrived in time to hear the crowd chanting, "We are the 99 percent." It was metaphorical, or a statement of values and desires, of course, for it wasn't much of a crowd: far fewer people than at the inauguration. In fact, there didn't seem to be even 99 individuals there, let alone any significant percentage of the population. But it's the thought that counts.
To be sure, I had no idea what to expect. I had read about the loopiness and extremism of some adherents of the "occupy" movement. So, when I spotted yellow banners with a vertical emblem in the center, I just naturally assumed that they were the flags of Hezbollah (after all, Judith Butler calls it a "progressive" social movement"). Turned out this was instead a counterdemonstration by the local Tea Party. (Who knew we even had such a thing?)
The Tea Party-ers were a small but dedicated bunch. They came well prepared, with neatly lettered signs and strong messages.
Can't say these people don't know their own minds. (I can say they know nothing about socialism or communism, if that's what they think we have here now.)
They were even passing out free books.
As for the actual "Occupy" rally, it was a sedate and eclectic affair, promoting various causes, from a general longing for social justice to pacifism and local agriculture. One red flag, one American flag. Some gray hair, some pink hair. Something for everyone.
|the 99 persons (or close to it)|
|Food, Not Bombs|
|Gray Hair, Pink Hair|
|Dissent IS Patriotic|
|My Tweep @amymittelman makes a statement|