Occupy Des Moines moved to the Bank of America building downtown, today. I went down this afternoon to join in. There were about 30 people there. This is the first time I have gone down there to join in the action. I was impressed by the diversity. These weren't just hippies and students. These were plain old normal people.
Here are a couple of
photos of the demonstration. I was standing with a small group on the
adjacent corner. While I was there we had a number of cars drive by and
honk in support. Even the trolley driver rang his bell quit loudly in
support. I didn't hear or see anyone that had an openly negative
response - just support or calmly going by without any display.
was struck by the image of the protesters standing in front of the bank
building and having the empty shops at street level with "For Lease"
signs in the windows.
I have read many articles and opinions about what is going on with these demonstrations. The common criticism is that there is no clear demand so there isn't really anything going here. I think those people are missing the point. I think what is going on is that there is a growing number of plain old people who are finally internalizing the fact that we are in deep trouble in America. We know that times are tough, and that many companies are struggling and many people are unemployed. We have been waiting for the government to respond and make things better. And it isn't happening. Reality is setting in. America is in trouble and there isn't an easy fix. So there isn't a single slogan. There isn't a single message because there isn't a clear path out. But, also, the normal Joe like me looks at the news and looks around and I don't see that anything is even being tried. For me the message is,
"please, can we get to work doing something?".
My traditional close for these posts comes from the days when I first started writing in 1972. Back then the message was clear - we wanted to end the war in Viet Nam. Today we are at war again, and that would be good to bring our soldiers home. But we are also at war with ourselves, and for that I continue my prayer for. . .