Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hearts, with more Boing

So boingboing posted a very sympathetic post about the Events of Saturday, and I showed up near the bottom of the comments with my usual enthusiasm and flailing. And because I am nothing if not honest about my flailings, I thought I would re-post my words here, too. Might be helpful for others who are faced with similar questions/concerns in the future.

(First post)

I was there-- my kid was in the blue coat and the black hoodie, talking, painting, and frolicking. He's seven years old, and I always ask him before we go to an OWS thing if he wants to go or not. (The same with my 3 year old-- who usually declines.) The only time my son hesitated was when I wanted to walk with the unions two weeks ago. He was excited to go and bounced up and down-- then he paused and said, "Will there be riot police there? I don't want to go if they'll be there. They kinda spook me."

That's why we went on this most recent protest. Because, in my house, we define bullying as someone using fear to get you to do something you wouldn't otherwise do.

(BTW: My son also cried the one time I voted without him; he really wants to be a part of it because I've told him it's our civic duty. He wants to join the military when he grows up to defend America. ...And he says on weekends he'll come protect the protestors...)

It's a complicated thing, but I know he felt empowered that he started a chant at the union march and twenty grown-ups followed him when we marched with the teachers' union. He bragged about it for the next week.

I wish I had felt that powerful when I was 7.

(Oh, and http://alia-gee.blogspot.com/2... is a piece I wrote up that night about our experience. I haven't seen anyone else mention the Santa that went over the fence...)


(Second post, in response to a previous "I don't understand what they were doing! Why did the kids cover their eyes! It Makes No Sense To Me..." sort of post)

I believe the symbolism of covered eyes, as it was explained to us, was that we were protecting our kids from the images of police brutality that were on the signs in the background.

First the kids lined up and sat down, then we went behind them and were handed the posters facing away from the kids and the cameras. Once the kids' eyes were safely covered so they couldn't see the images, we turned them around and did the Foley Square part of the protest. Then we gathered the pictures back up and put them away and the kids could look around safely again. It was both a real way of protecting them and a symbolic "Look, this is horrible stuff we don't want our kids to see. Do you want your kids to see it? Do you want to live in a country where this is acceptable behavior?"

I could be wrong, but that's how I saw it. 

(Third post, in response to a nice comment about me and my kid)

It gets awkward when he starts shouting stuff that isn't exactly what I agree with. (He's not much into nuanced argument.)  I know everyone thinks that he's parroting my opinions or that at the least I've fed him lines-- but the one time I made a sign for him to carry (Whose future? My future!) he said, "No, Mommy, I have my *own* idea for a sign." ...Caught repressing my own kid. How embarrassing... :*)

(Fourth post, in response to people who said variations on, "Well, what did you *expect* to have happen? How could you drag your children into a potentially violent confrontation? For shame!")

...oh, and we were actually about to leave-- the kids needed naps-- in one of the videos you can hear a woman we mic checked thanking the organizers and saying it was her first action with POWS... we had more hearts than tape so they hung up some shopping bags with the last thousand hearts on it... and I really thought that was how it was going to end. We would wave to a few more drunk Santas and sing our OccupyCarols on the way to the Subway with tired feet.

I didn't expect the hearts to last ten minutes after we (and the cameras) left; I don't think any of the parents did.

I don't think any of  us expected the cop to rip the hearts down in front of us, though, either.

And I do think there is a difference between those two endings.

(Fifth comment, because I just can't stop. Especially when a poster writes, "So, did they just leave their trash at the park without picking it up")

We gave Bloomberg a gift of 5000 hearts neatly lined up and in easy to carry shopping bags. There wasn't any trash until the police started tearing things.

And yes, some of us did pick up the hearts that had fallen down on our side of the fence. (I have a small stack I was going to send to OccupyFriends who weren't able to attend.) However, most of the mess was on the other side of the fence that we weren't allowed to pass.

I assumed that, unlike the drunk Santa who got through when the cops  were watching us, if I tried to pass the fence I would be arrested/forcefully disabused of any tidy notions I might have. In front of my kid.

I get that you are insinuating we were thoughtless, dirty protestors. Actually, we were people who had just had a gift (the chance to change, to grow, to model adult behavior to the next generation, to model courtesy and respect to the livestream viewers) torn up in front of our eyes.

So... No, we did not clean up the cops' tantrum. 


What's interesting to me was that last one, where I got closest to losing my temper, got the most Likes. Hunh.

People are funny.

No comments:

Post a Comment