What defines a community? A broad definition of a community is "a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household. The word can also refer to the national community or international community." A city is a community. Folks who live within a community understand that, in order to have cohesion and mutual respect, there must be laws in place to protect every member of the community, and it is the responsibility of each member of that community to obey those laws. Also within that community are certain right and freedoms. A perfect community is one in which the laws are counter-balanced by the rights and freedoms. Everyone knows what is expected of them. It is on that basis that I object to the invasion of my community by a group of people who claim to represent me. They do not. They are, in fact, holding me hostage in my own community.
The balance sheet for the Occupy movement has not been in their favour. In most cases, the original organizers have bailed, and the sites have been hijacked by less savoury folks. There have been drug overdoses, deaths, rapes, murder, and a rise in crime in the districts close to the occupation sites. In Vancouver, the street vendors and business owners were interviewed, and all of them report a 40% drop in their business since the occupation began. The occupiers are actually hurting the 99% of the folks they pretend to be helping. A few days ago, a city worker was doused with urine when one of the occupiers tossed it out of his tent. The Vancouver site stinks to high heaven of feces, urine and other odors which are unidentifiable. It's a slum. Under what condition is that acceptable, ever, in any civilized community?
Last night, the mayor of New York ordered the OWS site to be dismantled, and to everyone's amazement, a judge ordered it back. That does not bode well for the injunction application against the site in Vancouver. My question is, what happened to the rights of the citizens of the community that these occupations are harming. The message of the *occupation* has been lost, and the majority of folks want the tents taken down. The occupiers have no one to blame but themselves for how badly their movement degenerated into something negative and pointless. Did they really think that sitting in stinking, fetid tents, getting stoned and playing bongo drums would bring governments, corporations and regular, hard-working folks to their knees? In fact, it had the opposite effect.
Most of their message was actually one with which I agree. We ~~ all of us ~~ need to do more to help folks who are less fortunate than ourselves. But making general, sweeping demands is not the way to do it. It has only created an "us" or "them" mentality; if you're not with us, you're against us. That is a form of emotional blackmail, a passive aggressive attitude that has torpedoed their movement rather than convince us to get on board. It has made me really angry, and I have posted about this twice in the past few days because I want those slums out of my community. They don't represent me, or anyone else I know. The folks who are sworn to uphold the laws ~~ for all of us ~~ need to do whatever has to be done to restore our community to the true majority of folks who live here and abide by the laws of the city.