When the whole Occupy Portland movement started on October 6, I have to admit I was impressed that I was living in a city that put its weight behind a grassroots movement that started more than 2,000 miles away. I was also slightly happier since I live outside of Portland’s city limits, so I got to watch the marches, “sleep ins” and standoffs from the comfort of my living room, largely detached from the reality just a few miles away.
Since October 6, the reality of the negative impacts of the Occupy Movement has begun to set in: more than $85,000 in damage to parks downtown; a disorganized, increasingly confrontational message and a growing economic impact to our already fragile economy – especially small businesses who were counting on an already dismal holiday shopping outlook to keep them afloat for at least a little bit longer. And that’s just in Portland, Oregon. Other cities across the country are facing the same thing – but usually on a much larger scale.
I am the first person to acknowledge there are problems with this country and the path we are taking. We spend money to pay salaries of elected officials who seem more-than-willing to create laws that benefit big business – and their own pocketbooks – while forgetting the average, middle class American who put them in Washington to watch out for their best interest and stop the financial bleeding that appears to be pulling us back into another recession.
But how does occupying parks, fighting with police and picketing at ports help the cause? More and more innocent Americans end up on the unemployment line, draining our already weakened federal resources? More families lose their income and move into their minivans, unable to feed their children and straining food pantries that were already struggling to keep up with demand BEFORE the occupy movement started? More kids go to school so stressed out about what is going on at home that they can’t get a good education, and we fall even further behind in teaching the next generation the basics? We overwhelm the police stations with protesters, forcing the states to release hardened, dangerous criminals and sexual predators due to over crowding?
What is it all about? What is the point? Are you trying to show the federal government that you are disgusted with the way things are going? Trust me, they know. And they don’t care. If they cared, they would have acted by now.
Surely, I can’t be the only person out there who thinks that it’s time to UnOccupy and find another way to get our voices heard.
So tell me what you think. Post your ideas. Let’s start a open, honest, productive conversation about how to move this country forward. Who knows, I might even write about your idea, and maybe we can start changing things, even if it’s one person at a time.
There has to be a better way.