Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, DC Style

The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, which has spread across the country, can be found in its DC version at Freedom Plaza, a blocklong stretch of stone on Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, NW.  Although it's not far from the White House and has clear sight lines to the U.S. Capitol, the site itself is in a kind of no-man's land.  On the one hand, it's opposite the District Building, DC's city hall but the protestors' grievances don't seem to be the kind that the mayor or city council could do much about.

I'm sympathetic to the protestors' concerns about corporate greed, the growing gap between rich and poor, and a national public policy process that seems to favor slogans over thoughtful decisionmaking.  On the other hand, my impression is that their messages seem to garbled to really be heard.  What's really need is a unified message followed by unified action only that's not what a grassroots run protest is likely to generate.

Last I read, the protestors were in negotiation with the U.S. Park Service (which has jurisdiction over the parcel of land -- like many other parcels in this federal city) about the terms of their continued stay.   I wish them good weather and continued courage in exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.  And that's what democracy is all about.

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