Dispatch from OWS, Tompkins County Division
I was up in Ithaca, New York over the weekend, and we chanced to pass by the local demonstration in support of Occupy Wall Street. There were only a couple of dozen people there (it was raining) but I found it very heartening. Representatives of each of the local factions spoke a little piece: first a girl from Cornell, then a boy from Ithaca College, then a girl from Ithaca High School, and then…the guy with the Ron Paul sign.
I’d been eyeing him with both curiosity and trepidation since arriving, for he represented the closest thing to my faction — and sometimes when my libertarian homeys talk in public, it reminds me of that time my grandmother caused a disturbance at the town meeting. Makes ya want to climb into a hole. But this young man was perfectly tuned to his moment — confined himself to the common ground, which is the whole point — and I felt pride and something like a tiny germ of hope.
Another person had a sign that reinforced this feeling. It read “This is not a ‘liberal’ movement. Conservatives welcome.” The pundits (especially the conservative pundits) have been falling all over themselves ridiculing Joe Biden’s remark that the OWS people and the Tea Partiers have a lot in common. But from where I stand personally (with a foot, more or less, in both camps) I think maybe I’m one of the few people who can see it. EVERYONE (except apparently a handful of political and business leaders) is dissatisfied, scared and angry, and feels not only powerless, but that there is no one who can or will lead a way out. The interests of all of these people are identical, despite wedges that have been driven in between them by the political class and the mainstream media. Like the Paul supporter said, “This is not about Democrats. This is not about Republicans. This is about everybody.” Only when someone can figure out a way to knit together the will of the 50% and the 49% will the 1% (and their government toadies) have to answer to everybody else.