There were clear skies, a gentle breeze, and thankfully, a lack of humidity as I left my apartment on Saturday morning. Throughout the United States and elsewhere across the globe, however, the political barometer was approaching critical mass. With coordinated efforts in various cities over the weekend, the Occupy Movement gained momentum, and protesters led their first march into our hometown of Orlando, Florida.
I made the short trek from my downtown apartment to City Hall, equipped with copies of PR/PR client John Strelecky’s book, The Why Café, to distribute to the masses; a quick read that echoes the idealism and forward-thinking sentiments at the heart of the Occupy Movement. There were varying estimates as to the number who would be attending the Orlando protest, and all conservative approximations were proved inaccurate when I turned on Magnolia Avenue and observed the immense congregation. A deluge of decorated signs with proclamations of dissent against government and big-business, masses toting megaphones giving impromptu speeches, and even a guy dressed as Robocop meandering through the crowd. The scene was overwhelming: in a good way.
The common theme purported amongst the media is the disheveled and disorganized nature of #Occupy; the scourges of society ‘uniting’ underneath the black flag of anarchistic ideals with no focus or plan for moving forward. They were merely occupiers, and in the worst sense of the word.
What I observed were individuals from all walks of life joining to voice their opinions on perceived corruption and misappropriation of tax dollars and misuse of political power. Elderly marched arm in arm with America’s youth to finally stand up to the corporate machine and say, ‘enough is enough.’
Regardless of your political stripes, the Occupy Movement is a refreshing departure from the culture of somnambulist acceptance that has dominated our nation. This country was founded by a likeminded few who realized their best interests were not being satisfied; that they were playing second fiddle to a monarchy an ocean away. The roots of rebellion snake their way beneath our land; from coast to coast, from border to border, and these protests are another extension of our nation’s rich history.
With all of my literature distributed and my backpack empty, I walked home with a newfound appreciation for the possibilities afforded to us in America. I had seen the newscasts and heard each side of the argument, but I had witnessed something special first-hand: the rebranding of ‘The American Dream.’ Not the folksy passages about amber waves of grain and shining seas; but empowered citizens holding lawmakers accountable. Reminding them they are beholden to the peoples’ interests, not special interests, and the tradition of tolerance to greed will be tolerated no longer.
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