Monday, November 21, 2011

The Day that Didn't Happen

Unfortunately, my body didn't hold up for Saturday's walk into Baltimore. I slept late, found I could barely move on waking, and knew that I had done all I could do.  I'm not that twelve year old girl who blithely walked miles for charity.  But I had a day of it, and it was sublime.  There is nothing like working for the common good that brings people together.  Our pedigree evaporated with the morning mist. Our collectivism is what mattered.  How else would you find the homeless and the privileged walking side-by-side, engaged in conversation, seeing the same rainbow?

This movement is composed of people from every walk of life:  soccer moms, disenfranchised homeless, unemployed college graduates, employed college graduates, war veterans, homemakers, young and old, anarchists and intellectuals, entrepreneurs, politicians, organizers and amateurs. I had suspected from the start that the movement was composed of more than just “dirty cretins” as I heard the Occupiers described by one CNN talking head.  And I was fortunate enough to find out for myself.
This movement is like the proverbial elephant felt by seven blind men:  one can feel the tail and describes the animal as furry and skinny, another can feel the leg and describes the elephant as a pillar, etc. (For this story, follow the link). Yes, there are some who protest by defecating on the American flag.  This is a despicable act.  But to judge the movement and what it stands for on a single image or protester also does no good. Find out for yourself.  Follow the movement on Twitter:  occupydcmeda; #occupywallstreet; Occupy_Tweets; Walking Occupation. 

And thanks for checking in.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nineteen miles, but who's counting?

It's a good day to be an American! I met amazing people today, good citizens of every stripe: a man who'd served in the Vietnam War and was on his 12th day of the march; a man who'd served eight years in the Navy and had come home recently from war; several history buffs; a woman who spoke her mind in the face of challenges to her natural leadership abilities; a young janitor who is an aspiring photographer.

Some of the people I met weren't marching, but supported us by delivering hot chocolate and PBJs; snack bars and water.  Parents brought their young children out to meet us.  A farmer in a pick-up truck and overalls delivered a hand-written letter to us to give to the Congress in Washington when we get there.  There were countless thumbs-up, peace signs and horn honks to let us know we were appreciated.

 About fifteen years ago while working on a presidential campaign, I lost hope for America.  After witnessing a political betrayal so repugnant and stomach-churning, I quit political activism.  I thought my contribution didn't matter.  But the Occupy movement has rekindled hope in me.  People are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.  They're getting their voice back, they're demanding change for the better. And my voice is back, too.

I am glad I got to march for that change today and I hope that the Occupy movement is more than a footnote in the march of history.

Check the Links section of this blog for video clips of today's march.

And thanks for checking in....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The trip to Baltimore

Went by plane and then train to Baltimore.  Engaged in a great conversation with a fellow passenger:  we'd both read the article in this month's Rolling Stone, "The Party of the Rich", by Tim Dickinson. A must read to understand the devastating effects of the Bush tax cuts, and much more.  Dickinson was interviewed by Terry Gross yesterday on Fresh Air, and offered even more illumination.

So engrossed in conversation, I got off at the wrong stop, West Baltimore.  Not a good idea, especially since I had about a thousand pounds of luggage and carried it all the way down the platform stairs before I realized my mistake.  Shouts up to the conductor to hold the train!  He did, and I made it to Baltimore!

Dinner with friends made the long day of travel disappear. But off to bed early, for an early start in the morning. The route has changed, so I'll be starting from Havre de Grace.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Reactions

Husband:  I fully support you.
Mother-in-law:  IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR THREATENED - MOVE AWAY. (Plus, "I love you!")
One friend: Hmmm, that's interesting.  Hope it's fun.
Another friend:  Go girl!
And another:  I wish I could get involved!

If you want to get involved, there are many avenues: donate money to Occupy Wall Street; get informed; talk about this issue with friends, coworkers and family; put out a sign.  Most importantly, vote with compassion. What would Jesus do?  Think about it.

And thanks for checking in!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gas masks, armed policemen, fires blazing

Portland is in a turmoil.  The numbers of the protesters waxes and wanes and waxes to a conclusion that isn't known yet.  The police tell them to leave, denying sound permits and knocking over tents.  The protesters leave then come back.  Someone will go to jail.  This is what a protest looks like.

I brace myself as I anticipate the walk in Maryland.  I need to steel myself for hecklers, an unfriendly police presence, bad weather. A couple of days ago I was just focused on wearing the right shoes.

But I need to keep in mind the many supporters delivering food, water, money, even, to the walkers/protesters.  There are many out there supporting this movement, some behind the scenes, some out front.

I walk to put my face on this movement, too.  I'm a fifty year old former librarian, not the typical profile of a protester.  But this movement is about all us, from all walks of life, the 99%.  I have a good life, but I am walking for those who don't:  no insurance, working three jobs without benefits from any, those who can't make a living wage. This isn't sustainable.

Visit the following link if you'd like some historical perspective:

And thanks for checking in.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stepping rightly, with my left foot in front!

I've just booked the ticket.  On Thursday, 11/17, I'll arrive in Baltimore by plane, take the train to the city center, and be picked up by a friend, who is hosting me for this event.

Friday, I'll be dropped off in Rising Sun, MD.  From there, I will walk to Bel Air, MD, approximately 20+ miles.  There will be a General Assembly that night followed, hopefully, by a dirty martini and laughs with my friends.

Saturday will be a repeat of the same, but from Bel Air to Baltimore.  In all, I will log about fifty miles.  I'm going to start walking every day until then, in the hopes of being somewhat physically prepared.

I remember walking to raise money for victims of multiple sclerosis when I was a child. The walks were fun, as my friends and I gossiped and ate candy every step of the way. I don't remember talking about Jerry's Kids, though. But this is a horse of a different stripe.  I'm walking my talk, so to speak, feeling light in my shoes, ready to be a part of history. 

But I ask myself, will this be remembered fifty years from now? Will any meaningful change come about as a result of some concerned people making a trek? Striking during lunch hour? Blogging about the absurdities of our current political situation?

Doesn't matter.  The point is to be here.  NOW.  To be here now.  In the moment.  To seize the moment. My voice, with other voices, now. This is democracy in motion. 

Thanks for checking in!