of Echos

November 23, 2011

Where's Waldo?


I was well rehearsed in the chants, I shook my fists and banged my plastic drum, I yelled until my throat was raw.

I slept on the sidewalk with hundreds of other comrades, ate donated food from the community (the yellow mush from the Hare Krishna Temple was…uh…filling?) and felt empowered!

We occupied the library at UC Santa Cruz (such a beautiful Campus. Thank you Gov. Reagan), and wreaked havoc on the steps of Sproul Plaza at UC Berkley. Ending up at UCLA, where we rushed the stairs of Royce Hall and tangled with Police. At one point, an officer tried to grab my “plastic drum banging stick” from me and I put him on his backside. The crowd grabbed me and pulled me to the back, keeping me from being arrested. They were exciting, amazing times and it was all on the five o’clock news.

Mandela was still imprisoned, Bishop Desmond Tutu was our de facto leader.

I may have even cared a little about the horrific injustice in South Africa under apartheid…but really…I was there to get laid (sorry Mom).

THAT is why I can’t take the Occupy crowd too seriously.

We had our committed, our devotees as well. Heck, the strawberry blonde I followed around the State was certainly one and would suffer no frauds to bed her. I had to convince. I assumed the role of outrage and I should’ve been given an Oscar for my portrayal.

‘Cept, there were many more auditioning for the role. Just as convincing and JUST as motivated.

We had a blast.

Of course, our lack of conviction, in no way, diminished the truth of what initiated the protests. In the end, they even had the desired affect. The UC Regents voted to divest all funds from the Govt. of South Africa.

It may be that the Occupy Movement can have similar results. If only by the intense coverage, those who might not otherwise be aware of disparity between the super wealthy and the working class, might at least take notice. They might affect some manner of change. They will have to, because if left to the devices of those I am watching on the news, those that are there for the ride, that deface and destroy public and private property, that are sexually assaulting Women, robbing other protesters and dipping their filthy hands in the Movements kitty…

I imagine they are well rehearsed in the chants as well.

I don’t care to ring like the proverbial 60’s burnout but there is a very different feel to this crowd. Different but the same.

I may have wanted Mandela out of prison just enough to get in that strawberry blonde’s drawers but I would never have considered forcing my way in them, if Nelson had to stay locked up.

Ultimately, I learned a lot about what I had fraudulently embraced as cause. In that lesson, I was exposed to, and came to care for, the movement that I participated in. I remember being genuinely excited when apartheid was dismantled and the white ruling class released Nelson Mandela and stepped aside, allowing progress, and with it, hope for a more equitable future for the greater portion of a people.

I recall being a lil surprised and glad for my reaction.

I’ll offer as much hope for the Occupiers but I wouldn’t bet on that horse if it looks like me.

2 Responses to “of Echos”

  1. Alice said

    R – another great piece, but of course! My favorite is this: “…but there is a very different feel to this crowd. Different but the same.” – this sentence expresses what this “uprising” feels like to those who just aren’t buying it, and captures the undercurrent of cynicism that so many (me included) are feeling. There does seem something worldweary about this movement, somehow it does not come off as genuine, clean, truly powerful. I hadn’t thought of it in the terms you offer up…that it is for some an opportunity to advance their own agendas, which are individually so much smaller than what the movement’s goals are purported to be. Chasing tail? Free drugs? Getting to feel like you’re part of “something.”

    As an aside, I must say…my, my, how you’ve changed! Strawberry blondes are typically classified as redheads. I didn’t think you’d cross the street for a redhead, let alone beat your drum.

    As a second aside, this picture is iconic R. I’m fascinated how everyone is facing the center, except you…you, peering outward.

  2. K8 said

    Fuck You Roland. You horny right-wing war-profiteer.

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