Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Beat Goes On

I have never been to a protest.

Occasionally, when I was working as a news reporter, I covered small political rallies, but they were not protests.

As a child in the 1960s, I saw students marching in protest against the Vietnam War on the nightly news.

I saw civil rights protests and marches, but I was too young to understand them.

Kent State and the massacre that took place there in 1970 seemed like something that happened in a far-off country. Certainly it happened in a world quite different from mine, country girl of seven years that I was. Living isolated on a farm with only one TV station and my parent's radio always tuned to country music, I was definitely not mainstream.

By the time I was old enough to drive, the Vietnam War was over. The late 1970s was the "me" generation, all about me me me. I remember no one marching for much of anything.

To be sure, I don't recall too many protests in this country between 1980 and 2000.

There were riots over the Rodney King verdict, but I am not sure that is a protest. I guess it is in a more violent sort of way.

I don't know of any protests up until 2001, when people began protesting the United States' war efforts in the Middle East. Which isn't to say there aren't any, as I am sure there are. They just didn't stick with me, whatever they may have been.

Interestingly, this Wiki page here lists 59 protests that have occurred in the U.S. Out of that number, four begin with "tea party."

I could not have been a tea party protester because they were not protesting for much that I believed in. Their protests seemed to me to be along the lines of "I've got mine, screw you and go away because you're not getting it." I am not a subscriber to that kind of thinking. I have a thing about generousity and taking care of my fellow human being. I try not to look down on anyone and I work hard at being accepting of people, even if I don't understand them. I wish no one harm.

But those protests apparently are so last decade.  Now we have the folks who are occupying Wall Street. Here's a CNN story if you're interested in reading more.

These folks are more in line with my kind of thinking. They're calling this a "leaderless resistance" - a true people's movement. Disenfranchised Americans taking a stand against greed.

So what are they protesting? They're protesting things like banks, which are hanging onto money instead of fronting businesses and development. They're protesting Wall Street, where insiders get rich because hard-working Americans want to save their money in an IRA. They're drawing attention to the rest of us, to you and me, those of us who work every day to earn a paycheck. We're having a harder and harder time because prices of everything are rising, but our earnings are stagnant. They're protesting a system that rewards theivery and kills honesty.

They want leaders who can lead, not adults who throw childish temper tantrums. They want to be heard. They want jobs, a house, a future.

They want a strong middle class.

It is fitting that it began in New York City. It had to start there. Do you honestly think such a movement would gain momentum if it started in Roanoke? or even Richmond? No, such a protest required the great city as its birth place.

But it is spreading, I hear. Protests are popping up all over. Maybe one day there will be one close by.

Go people! I hope your voices are heard from sea to shining sea.

3 comments:

  1. What's it going to take? I just don't know.

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  2. Well, you can join Occupy Roanoke's protest group now...http://occupyroanoke.org/

    Have fun!!!

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  3. Anita, there's going to be one in Roanoke, I think this weekend!

    It's funny because just a couple of weeks ago I was saying that we need the hippies again. Liberal, peace-minded people need to start speaking up like they did back in the '60s! And look. It's going on all over the country. President Obama acknowledged it today during his wonderful talk on the TV. After hearing him speak, I feel hopeful that the obstructionists won't have the nerve to continue their antics.

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