The Occupy BEND protest in Central Oregon
Today’s rally was in front of the Bank of America building just across Wall Street from the Wells Fargo bank, here in Bend, Oregon. It was well attended for such a small city in a remote region of the United States, but it illustrates perfectly the concern of Americans that their government in Washington and their money managers on Wall Street are not representing their best interests. These Bend people are representative of those 99% of our population who are not rich and are not powerful, but unfortunately these are the people who pay the bills of the rich and powerful. They are representative of the people who pick up the pieces when Wall Street breaks its bank with over-leveraged loans, or when Washington spends money on worthless projects.
I arrived at the protest site at the appointed time and already quite a crowd of people was there, holding signs and returning yells of delight to passing motorists as they honked in appreciation of their efforts of bring the politicians and bankers to heel. After conversing briefly with a few people I knew there in the crowd, I found a perch on the edge of the Bank of America’s decorative pool to take pictures of the speakers and the crowd.
The speeches were mostly about how we were going to conduct a perfectly quiet march, and everyone was to obey absolutely all of the rules of propriety and the laws of the land. Because if anyone misbehaved that is what would be reported on the news and remembered about the march, rather than our disappointments with our elected officials and with our Wall Street money manipulators. Therefore, if anyone was creating a problem they would be contacted instantly and asked to leave the march.
A newsperson stands alone, away from the march, with the video camera on her shoulder watching the crowd slowly amble along Wall Street chanting slogans. The announcement to be good didn’t seem necessary because everyone was so polite the march leaders had trouble getting them to respond to the chants loudly enough to cause an emotional stir. The two-mile-long parade went as hoped and everyone had a pleasant time – it was a beautiful day for a walk through this beautiful city. It is hard to imagine these people causing a problem, and my suspicion is that the Occupy Movement in Oakland was similarly quiet when the police stormed their camp at 5AM last week. There was acknowledgement here in Bend of Scott Olsen’s severe head injury at the hands of the Oakland police, and there were some placards with his name on them.
I have never been enthusiastic about the quality of rhetoric at these affairs, and the responsive chants are even worse because of their inane qualities. However, that does seem to be what works in these venues, but I think that at least one speaker ought to give a five-minute speech which was pertinent to the subject and profound in its analysis and proofs, concluding with what must be done to be successful. I don’t think a march or a thousand marches are going to change things enough to make a difference. We need new Representative in our houses of government who will pass legislation which will make a difference. If these protesters really represent 99% of the American people, tossing the bums out ought to be easy.
The problem isn’t the bankers, it’s their “legal right” to send our work abroad too easily.