So a few hundred people with signs was enough toscare the G8 to Camp David instead of my home base, and reporters are acting like small-town beauty pageant losers all HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO POOR WIDDLE US, and I can’t tell you the bitching that was going on for the past month or so. About how there were going to be all these awful protesters mucking up the pretty pretty downtown that’s there for people from Wisconsin and Michigan to visit, getting their unwashed free speech all over everything and how horrible that they raise their voices.
You know, the usual one percent doctrine.
Seriously, the city could have encouraged its hospitality industry to market to the protesters as well as the dignitaries. Tents, supplies for signs, protest apps . . . a whole market to exploit.
And even more seriously, welcoming protesters as participants to the weekend would have been much smarter than treating them like the enemy and turning the whole thing into an impending crisis. Our cultural, civic and political institutions could have scheduled workshops, debates, art exhibits – the whole works. We could have shown the world how to bridge the gap and connect the 1% to the 99% and showcased democracy at its best.
Security would still have been an issue and incidents no doubt would have occurred – and likely still will when NATO gets here. But that’s part of the price we pay for living in a free society.
Seriously. Maybe Occupy would have been a little less hardcore about stuff if the city hadn’t shown every indication of meeting them more than halfway, acting like there had never been a demonstration here before andoh god oh god we’re all going to die get the riot gear Martha, it’s the big one. I’ve never seen such fucking hick hysteria, and this in a city everybody goes around mouthing all the time is so world-class.
There are a lot of goddamn people who live here, and some of them are going to stand outside a convention center with a sign that says FUCK THESE PEOPLE, and we are all just going to have to get over the unspeakable trauma of seeing that.
A not-insignificant number of people may have been (may still be) total dicks, violent and destructive, but why on earth was the fear of that cause for the full-scale militarization that was going to occur? Do people not act like violent destructive dicks every day around here, too? Whence cometh the idea that these criminals required tank divisions basically, and other criminals don’t? Or are we just flat-out saying it now, that the prime minister of East Gofuckistan is deserving of a peace and quiet our citizens can easily do without?
That’s unworthy of a place like this, a big glorious noisy busy messy place like this. The other day I went out my front door and there was a whole rotisserie chicken lying in the middle of the road, I mean every time I ride the L there’s some guy in a panda costume singing for no reason or something. We live here because of the crazy shit that goes on, not in spite of it, and despite everyone’s best attempts to sanitize all public spaces the public, occasionally, has other ideas. Acting threatened by that doesn’t intimidate our critics. It just exposes our cowardice.
In other words, sack up, and figure that if the vast majority of the world’s people can live with crushing poverty and systemic powerlessness all of their days, you can handle a week or two of people on the street being rude enough to bring it up in conversation.