When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has had enough of the Occupy Movement clearly this little adventure has run its course. Philadelphia’s very fine Mayor embraced this movement from the very beginning and did everything he could to accommodate the protesters. But, enough is enough.
When the Occupy movement first began I was inspired and excited by it. Finally the left was slapping back it had learned a lesson from the Tea Bagger movement. (Note: I will continue to use Tea Bagger instead of Tea Party as long as these people continue to question the citizenship of the President and continue to use subtle and sometimes not too subtle racist references about the first family. They stop and I will stop.) There was a disorganized charm to the early days of the Occupy Movement that has been typical of left leaning protests; the white guys shirtless with 6 packs and dreadlocks, the endless drumming, the women in long skirts and peasant blouses, the older Episcopalians, the African American kids with really great natural hair.
When they first hit the streets in New York I wanted to drive in with cases of water and granola bars to show my support. CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on it that was so inspiring that I was convinced these folks were going to change the world. One of the young people interviewed by CBS was my guy’s nephew; he was acting as the logistics coordinator for the movement; if Craig was involved it had to be good.
I had begun to turn against the Occupy Movement when it began to spread across the country; the argument was against Wall Street not Oakland, Atlanta, Philadelphia or Bethlehem. Why were these folks protesting Wall Street when they should have been protesting the United States Congress? It is Congress that allowed Wall Street to run amok.
Then they started moving in; building little villages. The villages needed police protection and the villages needed cleaning. The villages were costing the cities money. The cities took the largest hit during the Bush inspired depression and are fighting their way out of it and yet here they were bearing the brunt of the cost of the protests against the Bush inspired policies. The money the cities were spending to protect and clean up after the Occupiers was money that should have been spent on cleaning streets, protecting neighborhoods and G-D help the Mayor if he/she has to tell the citizens that the local pool can’t open next summer because money had to be spent to flush away the filth left behind by the Occupiers.
After enjoying the tree lighting ceremony (protest signs and all) we walked downtown and I pointed out the Occupy Bethlehem Tents to my guy and he said “so they are squatters?” He’s right; they are encamped on city land without proper permitting, without proper sanitation and they expect my tax dollars to protect them. How does living in a tent and letting the citizens of Bethlehem pay for your protection and cleaning up after you send a message to Wall Street or to Congress? Walking past these tents encamped in our beautiful Japanese peace garden I looked at my guy and said “What are they doing here?” Maybe I’m just a bitter old cynic but I have yet to understand how pitching a tent in a public space will bring about the economic changes we need.