Since the start of Occupy Albany, there’s been a rift between Albany’s municipal government and the state of New York. While Cuomo had wanted the protestors removed immediately, the Mayor’s Office, police, and the Council wanted to give them the right to stay and demonstrate in Academy Park. It even gave them exceptions, allowing them to camp out and stay out past the curfew established by law.
Tonight, as All Over Albany recaps, they crossed over to Lafayette Park with the knowledge that the cameras would show up and the State police would enforce the law by removing protestors. About 24 (maybe more?) were arrested, then immediately released.
This is where I get fed up and tell you to go home.
Rather than re-write what I already wrote in response to one of the protestors, a well meaning fellow who I think has just lost perspective like so many others, here’s a quick image snap:
The optimist in me says it’s all just misguided. But the cynic in me was waiting for this moment all along, where it exposed what’s really behind this. It’s an attempt to join, not an attempt to thumb the nose at authority.
Democracy and politics is about compromise. It means that some things happen in government that many of us won’t agree with. I’m not suggesting things are perfect and/or shouldn’t be changed. Far from it. We had an economic system that arrested a handful of people for the obvious Ponzi schemes but let the rest of the financial system run rampant with abuses of speculative economics that cost people jobs, homes, and potentially their very lives.
But that doesn’t mean you in Albany are being oppressed. You’re not. You live in one of the areas that’s actually more sympathetic to the cause. As mentioned previously, you had police, politicians, and scores of others show up to support you.
The chants that broke out of “this is what oppression looks like!” reeks of people that lived thousands of miles away from New York City and never even spoke to anybody East of the Mississippi River that still act like 9/11 happened to them. It’s intellectually dishonest and a cartoonish disservice to real liberal politics and concerns, rife with ideas and policies that could make this country better.
Instead, we make “freedom forts.”
In response, right as I was finishing this up, Sean responded on FB:
“Protests are supposed to be attention grabs. The whole thing from the start has been an attention grab. That’s, like, the point. Continuous escalation. Yes, we could just sit there in the part of the park we’ve been allowed but the point is to continually escalate. That’s how these things…work.”
But that’s just the thing: is it for the cause or for yourselves and being there? Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat because the Jim Crow laws were a violation of civil rights and a great injustice. The people of Libya and Syria took to the streets because they were tired of tyrants trampling on human rights and dragging them from their homes and throwing them in prison without due process.
The comparison may not seem fair but it’s apt. Those are acts of bravery and defiance, not of attention-grabbing. They were and are done for a very specific cause or injustice, not because they weren’t already being arrested.
I don’t know. I guess my whole thing with the Occupy movement as a whole is that as a liberal, I want to believe, but they keep making it so goddamn hard. Is this what my Republican friends that get called RINOs felt with the Tea Party movement?
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
- Listen to me LIVE as guest co-host of Alternative to Sleeping tonight at 10pm!
- Realtors: “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” George Hearst III: “NONONOO SSSSHHH IT’S OKAY, it’s okay…here. Here’s a pacifier.” Kristi: “#oops.”
- Open Mic web series premiere tonight @ Lark Tavern
- Trust Me, You’re Going to Want to See This