I wrote a post 2 1/2 weeks ago about Occupy Wall Street, and in it I said that I was standing in solidarity with the protesters, though I could not go to NYC to protest with them. Little did I know, the movement would blow up to include 900 cities, and the protests came to me. Saturday is the day in our household that we do laundry, see friends, and try to catch our bearings from the busy week. However, today we switched it up and headed downtown for the Solidarity March, joining a contingent of neighborhood families who were hoping to show that the 99% is not all naked people and teens. Even though it’s corny to go all “save the children”, I had to make my sign to support the families I work with on a day-to-day basis. On the other side was a quote from Fr. Richard Rohr: “Forgiveness is the great thawing of all logic, reason, and worthiness, and the primary way we move from the economy of merit to the economy of grace.”
We were encouraged by the huge numbers of people, and the diversity of the crowd. There were certainly plenty of families, which is actually saying a lot in this town, which is known for its “family flight”. Joel was feeling particularly weary about politics, and it was a boost to go downtown and see so many other people willing to give up their Saturday afternoon to chant “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out” and “Whose streets? Our Streets!” In fact, this movement has gotten a lot of flack for being all over the place and not clear about their demands, but it was pretty much on-message today. Everyone there was pissed about what has happened with the economy and the lack of accountability for the major corporations who appear to have bought our country. I have been waiting so long for people to get mad enough to start DOING something, and at last that day has come. I have no idea what will come of it, but I hope it’s what this lady is foretelling:
The protest started in the Financial District, waved its way through SOMA and finally came right through Tourist Country. The tourists were mostly not amused — they came to this city for the trolley car and the Irish Coffees at Fisherman’s Wharf, not for the natives to get all restless on them! We yelled “Out of the stores and into the streets!” to dissuade them from buying yet another pair of skinny jeans in order to assuage their anxiety, futile as that may have been. But the MUNI drivers got it — the dude in the cable car that had been brought to a total standstill started ringing the bell in time with the “This is what democracy looks like!” chant. In the midst of all the yelling and drums and honking, Olive took her nap. A group of old folks cheered at us, “Thank you, young people! You have the spark!” Another chimed in “And now you have to continue on, because my feet are killing me!”
People had signs about being sick and not being able to afford health care, about losing homes, jobs, livelihoods. Of course there was the requisite naked guy, but there were also the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who always make me feel watched over, no matter how bizarre their outfits might be that day. It was funny that 10 years ago, the slogan we all had on handmade buttons was “Make art, not war”. The new generation’s said “Make out, not war.” I felt my years, but sometimes it’s fun to be an Old Head. Here are some of my favorite scenes from the day:
So, all in all, Olive’s first protest was a huge success. I can’t even tell you how much time I spend thinking about our personal finances, how to get out of the hole of school loan debt, and create a better life for Olive. Today, instead of spending the day stressing about it or even looking at charts of how the country got into this mess, I actually did something. Much to my chagrin, I have found that I do believe in the resurrection. Therefore, I have to participate in making this world reflect that, for the will of God’s love to be done on earth. Today, that meant taking a noisy walk with a bunch of people daring to hope that things can change. Tomorrow, who knows?