Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comment I left at Citizen Radio

(Because hey, why not post it here. Some things happened May Day, but I'm not ready to talk about the Whole Day and y'all deserve that. But in the meantime, here's something to be getting on with...)

(They asked what we thought about permitted vs unpermitted marches)

My first march with Occupy was September 24th. I had no idea what I was getting into. (We're strolling to the bull and shouting a little, right? I know, I'll take my kid so he can see Democracy in Action!)...So suddenly we are in the street--I just thought it was because there was so much construction on the sidewalk there wasn't room for us all-- but young men and women are shouting at us "Stay close! Stick together!" and I'm running as fast as my short little legs can go... and we shouted "Banks got bailed out we got sold out!" at the sky and it was so god damn cathartic oh my god my chest opened up and the city *heard me*.

I've paraded for peace before, but the RNC protest was the last one I went to before Occupy. It was so frustrating. Nothing changed, no one cared. No one heard us. I mean, it was nice to be with others who cared, but it didn't feel like anyone else in America did. I stopped marching and focused on trying to teach my kids how to be good people....Tuesday, with my kid in one hand and a bag of sandwiches and juice boxes in the other (I'm a Mom, first and foremost), I got (a little!) impatient with the new protestors who didn't know that when the folks behind you start joyously shouting, "Whose streets? Our streets!" you're supposed to get off the sidewalk and put your feet on the road. I educated them. That's what Moms do, they model good civic behavior... right?

So, my heart is with unpermitted marches. That's where I am filled with joy and power and learn the limits of myself and those around me.

However, I also know that as a white stay at home Mom I can take way more chances with my body and the street than a whole mess of other people whose hearts might want to open to the sky, too.

Permits are a kind of protection that a lot of us feel like we need, who have been slapped down before. Plus I get less funny looks for bringing my kid to permitted events. :*)

And I loved May Day's permitted march as well-- but I had cops yelling at me to get on the sidewalk then, too, so really it's all risky behavior.

But I continue to think the risk is worth it. Every time I look at my kid, learning that if he starts a chant a dozen tired adults will grin and finish it, I know that he is learning about his own personal power.

I think every eight year old should-- pardon the pun-- be permitted that opportunity.

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