Hell Hath No Fury's Journal
And WHAT a night it was.
I had woken yesterday to the news of the raid on Occupy Oakland, and the horrible attack on Scott Olsen. Royally pissed of, I searched the Occupy websites for more information and discovered that Occupy SF had been served with a notice that their site was being considered a "health threat" and that they were afraid of a similar raid happening to them. I decided then that I really wanted to participate in a show of solidarity for not only Oakland and Scott Olsen, but also take stand for Occupy San Francisco should they decide to raid. When I got home from work, I saw a local interview with our Mayor, Ed Lee, in which he flatly stated that the Occupy SF camp would be gone in no more than a few days -- I knew my decision had been a correct one.
When I arrived there were already hundreds of people there in addition to the regular occupiers. San Francisco had clearly gotten the word and they showed up in force. The mood was electric, the energy was high -- the sound of drums echoed around the plaza and sounded like a call to arms.
For being a movement that stands accused of being unfocused, unorganized, and without a clear message, they sure as hell knew how to throw an occupation. There were advanced occupiers at various locations blocks from the plaza, radioing in information on any police sightings. Groups were organized to protect various areas of the plaza. Tactics were discussed and agreed upon. All would engage in nonviolence civil disobedience -- some protesters agreed that they would allow themselves to get arrested, while others would act as support to them. Drills were performed repeatedly and for various scenarios. We would stand, kneel, sit three deep at our designated areas with our arms interlocked. We were told the effects of tear gas and how to protect ourselves from them and how to treat ourselves if we were hit. We were also given the name of the local National Lawyers Guild group to write on or arms should be arrested and need representation. Throughout, we were reminded that this was about us being a family in this movement, and about the very real community that had been created there at the plaza.
A quick word on the Human Microphone: it sounds silly as heck, but damn it works. Using it we were able to get vast amount of information to a large group of people, quickly and efficiently.
Once our drills were over, I chose to go to the medical tent, trying to help in anyway I could. I started off with cutting towels into strips and patches -- the strips could be soaked in vinegar and wrapped around the head to help with inhalation of tear gas, while the patches could be soaked in diluted milk of magnesia and used to clean the eyes of tear gas. I also mixed up bottles of diluted Malox to use as eye drops. The medical tent was a fantastic place to be -- I got to hear much of the radio information that was coming in, and I got to see and talk with the wide variety of people who were participating when they came to the tent for their anti-teargas supplies. Some were old pros who had obviously spent nights like this before -- they knew what to ask for and how to use it. Heck, some of them came with their own gas masks. Others were new to this sort of action -- nerves were showing, worry was etched on faces. Everyone -- to a person -- was polite and thankful to us for helping them.
A quick words on my new friend, Vince: Vince is a freshman film student at San Francisco State University. He decided to come to the camp to find out just what the Occupy movement was about. We had both opted to protect the medical tent, and we quickly got to talking about the Occupy movement and politics in general. He was young, questioning, and scared. He had law enforcement and military in his family and was worried about how they would react if he got arrested that night. Early on I asked him if what he was seeing that night was like what he had been seeing presented in the media about Occupy SF -- he gave a surprised sounding "no" in response. He had seen the movement painted as unfocused, and the camp as a place just short of filthy -- absolutely none of which was true. I told him that was his first lesson in just how dishonest the media can be, and how important it was for him to investigate a story for himself and come to his own conclusions.
As we drilled and worked, there were news vans taking locations around the plaza and a helicopter hovering overhead. This really reinforced the feeling that something important was going to go down that night. At one point, protesters from Oakland arrived to show solidarity with Occupy SF and defend the camp -- it was a fantastic moment that buoyed the sprits of everyone present.
We got word fairly early that someone had spotted police in riot gear gathering at a nearby police station -- the news, relayed via Human Microphone, sent a shockwave through the camp. Many of us looked at each other with the same thought mirrored in our eyes, "Holy shit, this is really happening." We did a few more drills and then waited for what was to come. Which was...nothing. Hours passed and no sign of police, other than the handful of officers who had been patrolling the perimeter of the plaza. Unsure as to if the original tip had been correct, all we could do from then on was to hurry up and wait.
Over the course of the evening, a party atmosphere prevailed -- there was drumming and dancing at the north end of the plaza, just across the from the Marriot Hotel. Passing drivers honked their support and were responded to with cheers. Periodically, someone would call out, "What kind of pie?" and the crowd would respond with a joyful, "Occupy!" I am sure the visitors at the Marriot were getting the kind of "San Francisco experience" no travel brochure could prepare them for. At one point, we got word that four members of the City's Board of Supervisors were present, and that they were insisting to the local media that Mayor Ed Lee needed to come down to see the camp for himself before making a judgment about its future. Thank you, Supervisors!
Sometime after midnight, a man came rushing into camp, saying that he had just been on Treasure Island (a nearby former Army base located between SF and Oakland) and had seen buses and hundreds of officers in riot gear. Whether they were heading to SF or Oakland he did not know. We were unsure what to make of the information -- it seemed like an odd place to stage from and we wondered if it was another piece of bad information. Several of the Occupiers decided to go to Treasure Island to find out for themselves. Where I was located in the plaza I could clearly see the Bay Bridge and the traffic on the upper deck that came into the City. Within 15 minutes or so, we could see a tightly grouped bunch of very large vehicles that could have been buses come into the City.
Once again, a call went out that the police could be on their way. Our numbers had dwindled over the evening and we began new drills trying to compensate for the lack of bodies. We heard from the folks who had gone to the Island that they had followed four buses with officers up to the Potrero Hill police station, where they were grouping. But when the police had not arrived at the plaza after an hour, we were back to hurry up and wait. Protesters were advised to try and get some rest, and I saw people sleeping on the sidewalks on a very chilly San Francisco night, wrapped in nothing but their coats. That, to me, demonstrated the dedication of the people of the Occupy movement.
As the hours passed, many of us were questioning the ability of the police to conduct a raid at such a late time. There were still several hundred people at the camp willing to get arrested and to get us all in custody and processed would take a good amount of time.
Sometime around 4 in the morning, we were told that three City labor Union leaders were there and that they wished to speak with us. It was fantastic to hear from them that their Unions had voted on showing solidarity with the Occupy movement, and that they were now planning an active presence at the camp. One spoke of San Francisco's Labor history, and how several Unions members had lost their lives just blocks away during just such a movement back in the early 30's. After such a long and chilly night, their words put a little wind in our sails and got the party going once again.
Just around 4:30 in the morning, the call "Mic Check!" echoed out across the plaza, and we were notified that the SFPD had released an official statement: The raid was OFF. A huge cheer went up in the plaza, and the drummers kicked it up to high gear in celebration. For that night, a few hundred people held a plaza armed with nonviolence and dedication.
I encourage EVERYONE within distance of an Occupy city to go to it: experience it, participate in it, judge it for yourself.
And kittens, lots of fluffy kittens. And carbohydrates, preferable of the baked potato variety.
Good god, I had the worst weekend and need to vent.
I went to visit my father -- a man who left when I was an infant and I have seen exactly two times prior. During our first visit I had discovered he really liked guns and, as I left that day, he had attempted to press one on me. I strongly dislike guns, have no desire to own one and told him as much at the time, in as polite and neutral way as I could.
The second visit revealed he in fact not only liked guns, but had what can only be described as an arsenal of weapons. They were everywhere. In multiple huge safes, in the closets, in the garage, leaning in the corners of rooms, in trunks next to the bed, and loaded in a holster on the bed headboard. Still, I tried to get beyond my dislike of his weaponry and just try to connect with him as a person who was my father. I held onto the faint hope he was a a liberal who just really liked his guns -- hey, he had been a beatnik, listened to NPR, and liked Peta! We spoke a bit about politics and it quickly became clear we had different ideologies, with me being a liberal and he leaning GOPer/Libertarian/Bagger. During our political conversations I voiced my (slightly couched) views while remaining pleasant and nonjudgmental of his. At the end of the visit he, once again, he tried to get me to accept a gun as a means to protect myself in the neighborhood I lived in for 40+ years he deemed to be unsafe. (A neighborhood I adore, btw.)
Third visit was this weekend. And it went from pleasant to bad to worse.
I pretty studiously avoided politics for a while, but the revolution in Egypt came up from a newspaper article and a discussion began. Stupid, stupid me. Over the course of many hours I learned:
- blacks voted overwhelmingly for Obama because he was black and no other reason (I pointed out that they tended to vote "D" overwhelmingly every election but he brushed it off)
- our country was better off when each ethnic group had its own neighborhood, but the damned liberals wanted us to mix and that's when all the trouble started
- the reasoning ability of Arabs is so convoluted that Western doctors would consider them mentally ill
- Unions are a scourge filled with lazy bums who cheat and produce inferior workmanship
- liberalism is a sign of a weak mind
- the handyman who walked out on my Mom with a job half-finished must have not spoken English - when informed he did indeed speak English and was white, the next repsonse was he must have been a Union member
- Fox News is the only news organization worth anything
There were also numerous, oblique references to blacks and Mexicans being prone to criminality. And don't get him started on Unionized teachers. On those notes, I decided it was time to retire. He came into the bedroom I stayed in to share a few motorcycle gadgets he had for me, and, as I was unloading my overnight bag to get my jammies, he opened a footlocker next to the bed and began to retrieve an object.
The object was a Chinese submachine gun called a burp gun.
He unfolded the stock and began to show me the various parts and how it was held. At one point the muzzle briefly moved towards me. He then pointed the stock end towards me and tried to get me to hold the gun. I declined politely. He responded that he was just attempting to get me past my gun antipathy. I replied that I was very familiar with guns, had grown up with them in my family, and just was not interested in them. He tried to convince me of how much fun it was shooting them. Again, as polite as I could be under the circumstances, I said no thank you.
I did not sleep well that night, to say the least. Morning came and I stayed in bed as long as I could and decided to leave earlier then I had planned on.
I found him fixing breakfast. It was clear he had been stewing about the day/night before and was not pleased. He was cooler and quieter towards me. I decided to talk about the beautiful wildlife out the window, but he quickly resumed the conversation from the night before.
As he prepared breakfast and waved his spatula around I learned that the stockade, chain gangs, and forced prison labor out to be brought back (like some of that is not still with us??) Malaysia has it right -- drug dealers/addicts should just be killed, in fact it would be better if any repeat criminal should just be killed because they are a cancer that must be eradicated from society. Mexicans are being sent here to this country to breed so that they can repopulate CA/AZ/NM and return them to Mexican control. The problem with Mexico isn't our drug use or guns coming in from the US it is that there are not ENOUGH guns -- we need to export weapons to the average Mexican so they can take out the drug cartels, the police, and their government. There are thousands of patriotic Americans, including him, ready to take up arms against Washington right now because our country is in the greatest peril it has ever faced. Everything wrong with our country now, in fact, much of the world, is a direct result of Leftist/liberals/communists/Unions/environmenalists and that really needed to be taken care of. In fact, Evil had been ruining our country for far too long and it was past time that it be eradicated by force to create a better country. By this time his pancake were burning, he was ranting, and I was getting a bit freaked out.
And he ended with a lovely story about taking personal responsibility for creating a better country. It seems there was a young man in some town who was a repeat offender of some sort, would not straighten out, and was creating a whole lot of problems for his community. The father decided to take the matter into his own hands and killed him. My Dad agreed this was the right thing to do and should be done more often.
I had pretty much stopped talking entirely a few minutes into the whole thing. There was clearly no point in me saying anything all, except that it was time for me to go and thank him for the visit.
As I tried to go to sleep last night, all I could see was his face and hear his ranting.
Wanna hear the absolute KICKER from him?
All the hatefully rhetoric is coming strictly from liberals and the liberal media. They had taken the Tea Party and done a hachette job on it, demonized it, tried to make Patriotic Americans who simply wanted to save their country look like bigoted, dangerous, crazy people obssessed with guns.
No, Dad, you don't need the "liberal media" for that, you're doing a mighty fine job of that yourself.
Posted by Hell Hath No Fury in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Jan 20th 2010, 04:24 PM
Posted by Hell Hath No Fury in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Jan 20th 2010, 04:20 PM
Though you were not my first choice for the Democratic nominee during the primary, come election time I donated to you, campaigned for you, and voted for you. I liked what you had to say on healthcare, on Gitmo, the Constitution, and on putting the American people before Big Business.
Having been politically active for more than a few years, I knew that I had, at best, a 50/50 shot of you actually working to enact the progressive/pro-worker/pro-Constitution aspects of the agenda you had campaigned on.
And then I read the following names associated with your new Presidency -- Emanuel (both of them), Summers, Geitner, Rubin, Kaine -- and I knew I had just lost whatever small "hope for change" I had been harboring.
A private deal with Pharma? An about face on mandates for health insurance, a public option, and taxing healthcare benefits? Supporting the FISA bill? Siccing Rahm on the Progressives on healthcare reform? A year long delay on desperately needed financial reform? An appearance at a "prayer" breakfast hosted by antigay bigots who materially support Ugandan attempts to criminalize homosexuality?
For Christ's sake, what's next? "Entitlement reform" that takes the form of privatization or cuts to earned benefits? Hells bells, I could have voted for a Republican and got the same.
You seem to have forgotten why the American people voted for you, why they turned out in huge numbers to put you in the office of the President of the United States.
Hint: it was to fight for us, We the People, against the Interests who would prey on us, sell us out, profit at our expense, hold us back, and generally screw us over.
It is a battle almost as old as our country, one that must be fought regularly and with great vigor.
And it is a battle you promised you would fight on our behalf.
Unfortunately, you have chosen to surround yourself with people (hello, Rahm) who actively work to make the Democratic Party and the People more beholding to those very interest.
You need to get yourself back on track, man, before I have to fling my shoe at you.
Hell Hath No Fury
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