Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The End Approaches

First of all, it's nice to be back home and back online. Living in a motel, which reeked of tobacco smoke and Lord knows what else, as part of my house was being remodeled, was an exhausting experience. Returning home, after a week of; fast food take-out, nukable meals, mystery odors from Hell, limited TV, nausea, and no internet (I use a desktop PC); only to discover 1/3 of my computer's keys no longer functioned was positively disheartening. Two weeks after the slay ride began, I'm pleased to say I have a new bathroom, complete with a heated floor; I'm adjusting to a new keyboard, I'm consistently holding food down, and I'm ready to write again.
If you've ever stayed in a motel, you've found the laminated card which tells the occupant which TV channels are received and where they are on the "dial." I found the card quickly enough, but it in no way reflected reality. As I spent the week hunting and pecking, with a remote that had no battery cover, I found 4 local channels, TBS, and Encore. That's it, pbbbth... Thus, I watched more than my usual helping of local news. Of course, local broadcasts were ripe with stories of Occupy Portland.

I didn't mind the domination in coverage, since I find the movement to be of major interest and significance. Think about it. In the beginning, tens of thousands of average people put their lives on hold to try to change society for the better. The fact that change didn't occur is sad, but in my mind it's largely irrelevant. What's significant is the fact that so many people made an attempt beyond merely clicking to sign an online petition.

The beginning of the inevitable end occurred as I watched reports on the motel's low-definition TV. A police officer being pushed against a moving bus during an unruly march over Hawthorne Bridge inspired original movement organizers, AKA “The Real Occupy Portland and the 99%” to distance themselves from the actions of current campers, many of whom don't share the non-violent values the movement was originally based on. Founding members distanced themselves even further from occupiers after a branch of Chase Bank was vandalized on Saturday.

In light of the founders' statement, it became clear that Occupy Portland had become a homeless camp, and had ceased being a legitimate protest demonstration. This realization, coupled with threats made the park's maintenance workers, led Mayor Adams to order the park's restrooms to be locked on Monday. Yet, he didn't set a deadline for the camp's removal until David J. Hodson threw a Molotov cocktail at the Portland Trade Center on Tuesday.

The deadline for occupiers to be out of the park has been set for 12:01 AM Sunday morning. Police Chief Mike Reese has promised to enforce the mayor's order and arrest anyone who remains after the deadline. While some protesters have packed their bags, a determined core has vowed stay past the deadline. As promos for the stage production of West Side Story are being broadcast on Portland's airwaves, both occupiers and police are practically singing a countdown to a confrontation nobody wants, but which neither side seems willing to back away from.

For a little over a month, Occupy Portland existed as a micro-society right smack in the middle of the city. During that time, we got to see people come together, form a self governing body, write and post laws, create an infrastructure in the form of; a medical center, a soup line, a library, an economic system (via PayPal),and a website; thrive briefly, become corrupt, and now we're seeing its collapse.

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