After weeks of watching from afar via Facebook and Twitter, I finally decided to wander downtown and mingle with the lazy hippie communists currently Occupying Seattle and trying to destroy everything that is great about America.
The first thing I noticed on the perimeter of Westlake Park was a group of bicycle cops surveying the proceedings. They looked relaxed. No, they looked bored. But friendly. Not a rubber bullet in sight. Inside the park I found The Raging Grannies, a small group of women in their sixties or so, holding a big sign and singing songs of social justice.
Some booths along the edges of the park urged union members to check in, distributed literature about school funding and other issues, and advocated radical changes in the system. This is the closest thing I found to the communists I was promised.
Well, socialists are evil too, right?
I took a look at the Occupy Seattle information booth and found a whiteboard listing the day’s activities. They included a planned march at 5:00 pm, and before that, training sessions in non-violence and civil disobedience. Nearby were several stations, including a craft area for kids of all ages and a sign-making area.
Next I turned my attention to the holders of already-made signs. This woman didn’t look much like a lazy hippie communist. More like an average Seattle mom.
Here’s a better one. He could totally be a LHC.
Note the Robin Hood guy in the background. There were several of those. There were also a bunch of little kids in assorted Halloween costumes, dancing to the live music playing under the big hand-lettered Occupy Seattle sign, but I didn’t take pictures of them.
This woman had an awesome sign.
Yes, that’s her head sticking through it.
Finally I walked the eight blocks from the park to City Hall, where the mayor allows the Occupiers to camp out without getting arrested. That’s where the supply tent and kitchen is located, but there were few people around. The action was at the park. I asked the guy in the tent what supplies they needed most. Blankets? Socks? He said “coffee filters.”
Back at the park, I sat on a curb and Occupied for awhile. Things I saw that I didn’t take pictures of:
- Lots of obviously homeless people, some of whom were clearly mentally ill.
- Lots of people who looked poor, maybe homeless, hard to tell.
- Lots of middle class, middle aged people.
- A group of youths, aged maybe 16 to 24, hanging out in a corner piled with packs, blankets, and other evidence that they’d been sleeping outdoors.
Things I didn’t see:
- Anyone being harassed in any way.
- Garbage, debris, or anything resembling dangerous, unsanitary conditions.
I will blog about the underpinnings of Occupy __________ another day. This was an observational report by your intrepid investigator. Signing off.