With all due respect, may I ask, what was THAT?!
Fall for Greenville happens once a year and brings in hundreds of thousands of people to the city. Is there some reason you decided to squander this golden opportunity to make our presence known and organize for the cause?
After an hour of "meetings" (about what?), the group visibly lost about 30 people, which we can ill-afford. People drifted away; they did not come for an interminable meeting, they came for action. (Why did you bring cops to the last meeting, to ask them about the legality of demonstrating at Fall for Greenville, if in fact nobody intended to actually GO THERE?)
So, a healthy number of local lefties are roused from their peaceful Sunday and actually drive downtown, during an event where parking is scarce and the traffic is horrific, and... you bore half of them into leaving. This is not my idea of success. In fact, let me be clear, this is BAD.
Activists are getting arrested all over the country, Occupy Wall Street is all over the news and has grabbed the headlines. This means: we must strike while the iron is hot. People are ready to DO SOMETHING... NOW. They drive downtown during Fall for Greenville with the expectation of radical ACTION, not sitting and dithering for... well, I left, so I don't know how long it was. At least an hour and a quarter, since the meeting started at 2pm and was still droning on into somnambulism when we left, well over an hour later.
Once a Yippie, always a Yippie, and I therefore joined the unofficial breakaway faction that bravely plunged right into the heart of the festival known as Fall for Greenville. Ten hardy souls (see photo above), including the Future Politician, the Ex-Marine, the Mother of Two-Year-Old Twins, the Gay Singer, the Romanian Refugee, the Former Obama Campaigner... and yes, your humble narrator, the old Yippie. These are the only people who had the fortitude to pin "We are the 99%" signs all over our bodies and walk into the lion's den, whilst holding scary signs and making it very clear who we were and what we were about.
This is the most conservative county in the USA, and it would have been nice (putting it mildly) to have the original 50-60 people that were in the park, but alas, most had been bored into departure by then. But it would not have been as daunting as it was, if we had just had a few more people. And what does it say to festival-attendees that there were only 10 of us? Does that sound like a mass movement to you? Police were easily able to cordon us off and keep us moving (in single file); we were certainly no force to be reckoned with. Although lots of people gave us thumbs-up and woo-hoos, several hugs, high-fives and sweet "good luck!" wishes, there was also ample thumbs-down, nasty yelling, the finger, charges of communism (Aside: I wondered what our Romanian refugee thought of THAT), mean sneers and frowny expressions, "GET A JOB HIPPIE!" and so on.
And maybe this is why they decided not to join us? After all, it did take guts.
Apparently only 10 people at that meeting had the guts necessary. After all, as we were leaving, somebody was complaining about... (are you ready for this?) people taking pictures. Some pseudo-radical who has never seen Medium Cool, is worried somebody will take their picture. In response, somebody else was seriously proposing "no pictures" -- at this point, I had heard enough.
I repeat: they can take Osama bin Laden's photo from freaking outer space, and somebody is worried about their photo being taken (when they haven't even left the park yet). They take your photo every time you park your car, every time you go into the CVS or Walgreens, every time you sit at certain red lights... you know this, right? And you are worried about photos by lefties? Or are you really worried about "guilt by association"? Actually, if I can't take your picture, it is YOU I am worried about, so maybe you need to go back to the mall, where... guess what? They will take your picture as you order your Starbucks. YES, THEY DO. Please get a clue. Stop worrying over silly stuff, get off your ass, and DO SOMETHING.
The Future Politician, God Bless Him, didn't back down from a single confrontation and seemed eager to take on all comers. I was impressed with Jonathan Eames (wearing a tie, at left), and will be working for his congressional campaign. I like people with nerve and verve, and I can see he won't be reticent about confronting the Rethuglicans. And I truly wish I could say that about Occupy Greenville in general.
In addition, I will say that I was shut up at Wednesday's meeting after speaking for less than two minutes (yes, I timed it) and the aforementioned Mother-of-Twins was shut up only after about 30 seconds (yes, I timed it), and so I am seeing a pattern. As someone with a regular radio show (hello!), I offered my input for the "media group" and was promptly ignored ... possibly since I do not have the right genitalia? (By contrast, at Occupy Columbia yesterday, I was actually handed a microphone on the spot.) You know, I might put up with this shit without complaint, if it meant a better, stronger and more cohesive group, but so far... instead, I see a large radical group that sat in a park and pissed away Fall for Greenville and the mega-opportunity it provided. If this is any indication of your effectiveness, I am just going to have to keep going to Spartanburg.
Let me know when you are ready to ACT, since I will continue acting anyway, as I have been for 40 years now. You might actually want to 1) talk to people with political experience (and a radio show), 2) stop silencing women, while men rattle on endlessly, 3) ignore reality-challenged individuals who don't seem to realize that their photo got taken already while they parked their car. Etc.
And please don't squander an opportunity like Fall for Greenville again. Really, I am quite amazed by that.
Yours in solidarity,
PS: Radio show podcast is up!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
With all due respect, may I ask, what was THAT?!