A Trip to Occupy Wall Street

The whole world’s watching.
The whole world’s watching.

I exited the Cortland Street subway station, and was almost immediately sucked into a mob of people. Race, religion, political party… you name it. And they were walking right past me, carrying signs or chanting phrases of disapproval. The Occupy Wall Street protests were in full swing that breezy night as the moon, the skyscrapers, and apparently the “whole world” watched. 

Well. Might as well join them.

Two of my friends and I quickened our pace to keep up with the crowd. Journalists intermingled amongst what could have been businessmen and women to homeless hippies. A person walked by with a sign for the Tea Party, while an “End the War” poster grazed my shoulder. It was cramped and the police began closing in, urging participants towards a nearby sidewalk.

All night, all day – Occupy Wall Street!
All night, all day – Occupy Wall Street!

Now I can’t tell you what the #Occupy movement is going to do… if it’s going to do anything. But it has certainly gotten people talking. Blogs are a buzz, news websites have stepped up coverage, and senators are making statements. So then again, I suppose that’s something.

A few weeks ago, the same could not be said. News stations had attempted to avoid coverage of these events. After all, who are they owned by? Yes, very large and powerful media conglomerates, which is exactly what’s being attacked. And politicians wrote off the grassroots movement as a war between classes. But slowly, and then quite surely, downtown Manhattan turned into a constant parade of voices.

And they are angry.

I suppose what fascinates me most is not the political cause, or even the surprising numbers of participants; it’s the people themselves. Their diversity and passions are so extreme, so bipolar! Yet they all seem to have something to say. The general unrest from a brutal economic summer was so prevalent, it was almost tangible…  and now something has sparked. A small explosion of ideals and philosophy has led to hundreds of cities starting their own movements, which now extend to every continent except Antarctica.

So what is this going to achieve? I couldn’t tell you. Are there radicals from both parties surrounded by moderates and independents protesting? From what I saw, yes. Should people be allowed to protest? I would certainly hope so (Democracy?). Can my generation stop being called apathetic? To soon to tell… or maybe I don’t care about the answer (ba dom - ching!). Will this end relatively peacefully? Fingers crossed. Do people hate this movement? Yes, and they should be allowed to. Do people love this movement? Yes, and they should be allowed to.

Because thank God, above all else, we are allowed to speak and think and act for ourselves. Now someone cue “Proud to be An American…”