You want beautiful pictures and gorgeous video? They aren't here, check out this entry over on my native site, The Political Junkie.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked echoes across the country, and one of those was in Bellingham where over 350 not-millionaires showed up to protest wealth inequality.
That's really what these protests are about more than anything else, the rich controlling such outrageous amounts of money while the middle class and poor are at their breaking point. Historically, this has happened when the poor and merchant class are squeezed by the wealthy and powerful until they feel they no longer have any chance of building a life for themselves. That is when revolution occurs. They can be violent or non-violent, political or economics-based, but drastic change is building and these are the first signs.
I have written before about "The Forgotten Generation" and how financial austerity is gutting the next wave of workers, but this is people finally taking to the streets and putting voice to their outrage.
The corporate media has ridiculed this movement for the last couple of weeks, saying it has no focus, or that their demands are over the top. I think they are intentionally missing the point. The focus of these protests is pretty clear, the rich have been screwing us and we are outraged. The demands all boil down to one basic thing: stop screwing us over. Simple as that. When wealthy corporations are getting huge bailouts and NOT reinvesting them, instead pocketing the paycheck overseas, that is screwing us. When Bank of America reinstates hidden account fees after being expressly forbidden by law, that's screwing us. When market speculators artificially inflate the cost of gas, that's screwing us.
And we aren't going to take it anymore. We need good jobs, fair wages, and a 180 degree turnaround for our corporate culture. This is just the beginning.
As for the event itself, it was well-behaved and orderly. Kelli Linville and Terry Bornemann both showed up to support the cause.
There was one incident of note. Around 4:40 p.m., a big black truck pulled up. It had a big Bellingham Tea Party sign erected in the back on a wooden frame, and the driver floored his engine in order to pump thick black smoke into the crowd. He peeled out and most in the crowd chalked it up to one guy being a jerk.
However, he circled around and was going to make another pass, so the protesters occupied the street (aka blocked it) so he couldn't get through. Citizen journalist and friend of the blog, Shane Roth, was on hand to capture this altercation on film.
Shane is a citizen journalist and videographer who regularly records public meetings. Frequent readers might remember him as the guy Doug Ericksen tried to have arrested.
But aside from that incident, the protest was peaceful. The Bellingham Police did a phenomenal job of making sure everything went smoothly, hats off to them. I was pleasantly surprised by both the number of people and variety. This was not the handful of people who show up to protest the war, but rather a wide swath of people deeply unhappy about our economic conditions.