In some ways, I am still very bourgeois. I usually like to cut the cops some slack. It's a rotten job with rotten pay, but it's necessary. The Port Authority cops were very good friends to us underpaid bookstore clerks when we organized our union at the World Trade Center Borders many years ago.
And then I see stuff like this, and that very white middle class assumption that The Police Are Our Friends just melts away in horror and disgust. Of course, not-so-white folk have had very different experiences with the police since always. I doubt any of this would surprise them.
I can remember a time when folks used to turn over cop cars and set them on fire in response to stuff like this. What does it mean that people don't resort to that kind of thing in this video? Is it a measure of the protesters determination to be peaceful? Is it that they are afraid?
I'm wondering if there's a concerted effort between mayors out there to "make an example" of people to discourage potential protesters. The New York DA plans to press serious felony charges against protesters who refuse to take a plea deal (a lot of them). All of this force and violence is so disproportionate. It reminds me of the police over-kill during the Civil Rights protests. Someone somewhere is feeling very threatened by all of these dirty drug crazed hippies and their kooky flower power.
To me this is an extension of the crap that all of us have to live with these days: all of those penalty charges, debts, and interest piled on top of debts, threats and demands from insurance companies, that turn life into such a God awful treadmill of never enough work, never enough pay, a soul crushing chase after money money money, always just short of breaking free. The cops are the ultimate collection agency.
All of this money and manpower is being deployed against unarmed and peaceful protesters. Meanwhile, where are the raids on Citicorp? on Goldman Sachs? on Bank of America? on Chase? I thought so.
A friend of mine from Argentina made the point that middle class Americans are now getting a taste of what their government exported to all the rest of the world, especially to Latin America.
Justice in an age when EVERYTHING is for sale. You can sit in an expensive corner office suite and commit larceny on a cosmic scale, and there will be no consequences. Hell, our government will just write you a check to get you out of trouble.
But if you so much as step off a curb or bump a barricade, then God help you.
Here is a now famous picture of 84 year old Dorli Rainey in Seattle after taking a face full of pepper spray.
Because you're never too old ...