Where I’m Like, Totally Confused Man, by Local Blogger

Different paths in pursuits of happiness….

Checking out ObamaVille for myself…I had a different impression

Local blogger Tom White writes about his excursion downtown to visit Occupy Richmond. He notes that he is “shocked” by what he found there.

There were tents, hand painted signs, almost child-like art work in poster paint reminiscent of the 60′s. Love. Peace.

I was politely greeted by several as I snapped pictures and looked around. I came upon a medical tent and was greeted by a young African-American man named Chris. I asked  him a few questions and then asked his permission to record him as he  gave me the grand tour. I really hadn’t expected to find a clean camp,  let alone a medical tent – one of two!

There are supply rents with clothes, food and gloves. The  port-a-pottys were at the far end of the park, away from the food area and they had hot food available all the time. 24 hours.

Chris told me about their “PA” system as a few people walked by shouting “Mic Check!” Chris explained that they use this system to make announcements around the camp. One makes the announcement and the others repeat the message around the encampment. An efficient system to say the least.

He also explained the Democratic Government they had established. To pass “legislation” requires 90% approval.

I spoke with a young woman who was in the Legal Tent. I didn’t ask her name or “qualifications” but she did tell me that the group applied for a permit 9 days ago and had heard nothing.

By biggest problem with this movement has been their disregard for the law. But it seems that they are at least making an effort to comply with the law and the City of Richmond is actually dragging their feet. I have no reason to believe this woman was not being truthful, which means that the City and local media has been less than candid about the Occupy Richmond group’s efforts to do things the right way.

Shame on Mayor Jones. While I criticized Jones earlier today in a post for not evicting the scofflaws who refuse to abide by the law and obtain the proper permits, it seems that thecriticism of Jones was deserved, but not because he failed to remove this group who is unlawfully assembled, but because his administration has failed to either approve or disapprove the permit.

My camp guide Chris, speaking for himself (and not the group) said he believed that the Richmond TEA Party should be refunded their money.  The Public Park is free.

As of yet, the group has only seemed to come up with one message. That is that they do not like the way things are going right now. Perhaps when and if they arrive at a 90% consensus on what it is that they want, there will be less confusion and misunderstanding of what they are doing.

I believe that the mainstream media has managed to ferret out the worst of the Occupy participants and what we have seen is not representative of the majority of the group. I believe Chris and the woman I spoke with were more a part of the core of the group.

For the ones I spoke with today, what they have found is a group of humans who feel pushed out of the society we live in today. The sense of community they are seeking no longer exists. It has been replaced by an  everyone for themselves mentality. I think the reason that they have no real demands is that they have yet to realize that they are looking for a time I remember as a boy. When the entire neighborhood knew one another. Where you could never get away with anything because everyone knew your name and your parent’s phone number.

I believe that while those on the outside see a group of Communists or  Socialists – I know I did – what they really are is Community-ists. Theyjust don’t know it. Sure there are aspects of communes and I was having 60′s flashbacks during my visit. And I suppose that any good movement needs a villain. For the Hippies it was the Vietnam War and the Establishment. For the Occupiers, it seems to be banks. I am not sure how that actually fits the puzzle, but it seems to work as the catalyst that binds the Occupy Movement together.


For those looking for a sense of belonging who feel they are unable to find it in the mainstream community, they really seem to find a genuine sense of family and love here. Occupy Richmond may simply be an exceptional branch of the movement with others, like Wall Street, being the ugly side of the movement, who knows? New York is sure to attract a far more unsavory element than Richmond. Perhaps that is the difference.

But I now think that this is, at the very least, an interesting experiment. It is not the TEA Party. The two are totally different.

The TEA Party is a community looking for a specific list of items to be addressed. The Occupy Movements are a group searching for a sense of community. So far, at least. The two groups have little in common, but they also have little in opposition, either. They are not opposites in any way. Just two groups on the same path in pursuit of happiness.

WHAT THE —?????

I hardly know where to start. So the Tea Party is on a path in pursuit of HAPPINESS? Who knew! That’s…deep.

OK, first, public parks are not ‘free’ to claim as your own for an indefinite period of time. That’s absurd. The Tea Parties understand this, and so that is why they apply for permits, pay appropriate fees, etc. I can say from experience that had the City made the tea party jump through one hoop too many, or made the insurance requirements too difficult, that at a point, another venue would have been chosen. On one hand, one group applied free market theory and the other applies squatter’s rights.

I don’t get all this emo where OWS is concerned. A bunch of outcasts looking for a sense of community? Perhaps whoever is supplying hot food would be able to provide a field somewhere for the commune. They can have all their peace, love and family on private property. Have at it.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a child of the 60’s…… although I did grow up in a suburb where neighbors looked out for each other. I recall being in 5th grade, and standing on my neighbor’s sprinkler head, pretending to be a water fountain. The homeowner charged out of the house, brought me into his kitchen and made me call my mother. Then I got a spanking. So much for having neighbors.


Sorry, I’m just not buying this Occupy Wall Street thing as anything other than Van Jones Autumn in America. It was promised, it was planned, and I don’t care whether some of the people are the finest specimens of the human race ever to pitch a tent at Kanawha. Whether they’re nice, whether they’re clean, whether they smell of licorice or lavender is irrelevant. As long as they are in a public space, taking up room in that space, claiming it as their own – others cannot use it. What’s next, little picket fences marking their community – perhaps a post office drop? A garden? Oh, but it’s public.

Letting our emotions rule, in this case, wishing we were back in the 50s when times seemed simpler, is partly how we got to where we are in America today. Wanting to make everything ‘good’ for everyone, assuming the government has the ability to do that, is the problem. Blaming the City for “foot dragging” on a permit – even if it is the case – is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

Loved the post though, Virginia Right! That’s what blogging is all about – giving us a sense of community online, so we don’t have to go pitch tents downtown.

, , ,

Go Here Too!

Also Follow Me on:

11 Comments on “Where I’m Like, Totally Confused Man, by Local Blogger”

  1. John Boddie Says:

    I gather Tom’s opinion was pretty much like yours until he went down to see for himself. It’s funny what sometimes happens when you move past the bumper stickers and slogans.



    • Sara for America Says:

      I went to DC to see for myself (see photo). I came away with a different impression. So I take it you support what is going on there?



      • John Boddie Says:

        Yes, I do. I think we both believe that the system we have is broken. We have distinctly different views on the best way to fix it, but the first step is to have enough of the citizenry actively calling for a change in the fundamentals of government, not in maintaining business as usual and supplying band-aids on occasion.



        • Sara for America Says:

          Do you seriously believe these people want to reform capitalism John? MOST are just closet Marxists, income redistributionists.. . sure, they want to end the Fed, sure they want to regulate the banks (notice how they are so quick to want to find common ground because it’s simply a tentacle into what they REALLY want done) – because they would prefer the government to control income, cap income, provide more social safety nets. Simply a perpetuation of the things progressives have been demanding forever. Come on….I am happy to look for commonalities with people who want to make what we have better, make our form of government better — but I have nothing in common with those who are using the movement as an excuse, an opportunity to jam through failed economic theories, tried and proven to be disastrous in plenty of other places.



          • Sara for America Says:

            And another thought.

            Regarding OWS’ stated intention to keep free of being co-opted by the Democratic Party and other corporate interests. Sounds great! But why should I give them the benefit of the doubt – I wonder if they were so benevolent when the tea party came on the scene. Heck, from day 1, the tea party was labeled astroturf (while I laughed my butt off about that, knowing better.) I was constantly asked to prove a negative…… hard to do, actually.

            So, in the absence of proof that they aren’t funded, controlled by Soros or SEIU or the Democratic Party, I am not going to believe that they aren’t.

            I will however agree with their belief that once a movement is co-opted by those with their own pre-determined agendas, it ceases to have any clarity of purpose and benefit of trust. The OWS protesters witnessed what happened with the tea party and do not wish to replicate its downfall. Smart move.

            People close to me know how I beat my freakin’ head against the wall and made enemies trying to keep the movement independent of political party or larger groups looking to dominate/control the message. Eventually, and obviously, I lost. Now I’m criticized for having a bone to pick with those I believe turned it over. Funny.


          • John Boddie Says:

            Sara –

            The increasing polarization of wealth in America is not a good thing for our long-term vitality as a democracy. There’s enough history out there to make this a pretty convincing argument. The current (and growing) concentration of wealth is a recent phenomenon, as is the rapid growth of the financial sector as a percentage of overall business activity. Ask yourself how the middle class has fared over the past fifteen years. The fact is that it has done worse, finding it increasingly difficult to hold its standard of living at the same time taxes were lowered and regulations were cut.

            The numbers are available from numerous sources.

            The tragedy of the Tea Party is that it has bought into the idea that all our current problems are caused by government excess, and that the answer is to encourage excess from the private sector as a counterbalance. It’s a return to the 2007 mindset. How’s that working out? If you’re wealthy, the answer is “pretty well.” If you’re not, the answer is a bit different. Hell, if you’re rich enough you’ll have a national political party defending you as a “job creator” even though there is scant evidence that you’ve created any jobs at all (at least US jobs) over the last decade.

            The problems facing our country are really, really complex, and there are no simple answers as to how to change course so that Americans have good jobs, and that our infrastructure is revitalized, and that our schools are improved. Pretending that “cut taxes” is somehow an answer is a complete cop-out, no different than “spend whatever it takes.” In both cases, there is a “principled position” that leaves all the hard decisions to somebody else.

            The OWS protesters don’t have a solution to the problems although they seem to have an understanding that the current patterns of wealth distribution and its related political leverage are not working to their benefit, and that’s frustrating for both the protesters themselves and those who would support them. The majority of them that I’ve seen interviewed are not marxists, but regular people who have played by the rules and feel like all they got in return was shafted.

            My opinion (and it’s only that) is that they might be well served by coalescing around a flat tax program for all incomes over a basic level. If we get rid of loopholes (all of them, including the mortgage deduction and preferential capital gains rates and exemptions), then we can get rid of most of the impetus for dealmaking that goes on in Washington today.


          • Sara for America Says:

            I disagree that most aren’t Marxists – they may not call themselves that, but the solutions they propose can’t be categorized as capitalism. What is a better name for a theory that is basically class warfare, redistribute the wealth?

            I think you know me well enough by now to understand I’m a realist…. heck, my car is in the shop due to a cracked tire rim because I hit a pothole big enough to swallow Jonah. I’m not against investment in infrastructure – I’m against waste. I’m against reckless spending. A flat tax IS the way we should go. We need to gut the tax code, and quit giving tax lawyers and those who can afford them the keys to the kingdom.


  2. varightnewsTom White Says:

    Sara – My observations were only about the Richmond group, not a generalization of the movement. And the more important question is why the City of Richmond is allowing this to go on after forcing the Richmond TEA Party to jump through all of the hoops they placed in front of them. Did you know that the Richmond Police have given permission for them to pitch tents? Do you know the city has sent out Health Inspectors? And they passed their inspection? Sure, they have no permit, but they have PERMISSION. And they named the names of the police officers who told them to pitch the tents. I have not been kind to the movement in my posts and I disagree with their Declaration.

    I went down there camera in hand and fully intended to document the appalling conditions and destruction of public property. To confirm my beliefs about the mechanics of the movement, not their doctrine.

    I can’t speak to the situation in NYC or DC. I am reasonably sure the higher profile sites have been compromised by the Unions and the SEIU. Not to mention anarchists and anti-Semite groups. But I did not see that in Richmond.

    What I DO see is a Mayor – Jones – who agrees with the far left Declaration and sees these people as potential voters for his Socialistic beliefs. I place the blame for allowing these people to camp there not on the protesters, but squarely on Mayor Jones.

    I have called for and still call for his RESIGNATION.

    We do not need politicians who look the other way when kindred ideologues break the law, and enforce the law “to the letter” with groups like the TEA Party.

    Kanawha Plaza is the same venue the TEA Party has used for the last 3 years. (I know you know that, but not everyone would.)

    Had the TEA Party been told “Don’t worry about paying for permits, insurance or Sanitation. We got you covered. Go ahead and ignore the law, we will not enforce it for you guys.” I seriously doubt they would have written over $8,000 in checks over the last three years.

    And, no. No one has the right to seize a public park for an indefinite period. Not the TEA Party, and not #OWS.

    But for those who live in Richmond, what they should expect is equal enforcement of the law. Not preferential treatment.

    If the TEA Party holds another Tax Day Rally, I fully expect the same treatment that this group has received. And I plan to hold Jones accountable should he charge for permits and force the TEA Party do things differently from #OWS.

    The new law – at least at Kanawha Plaza – is a free forum with the city staying out of the way. Period.



  3. Jonathan Scott Says:

    In reality Sara, most have no clue what they really stand for or turly want to come out of this endeavor. I to went down there and mingled with the folks and spoke about what we face as a nation and the target of the banks really got me interested in pressing just what it really is about the banks. I mean OWS has 500K sitting now in banks to support its movement. They are not stuffing mattresses inside OWS tents. In short, the banks made bad loans, then foreclosed, then stop makign loans and now the unemployment rate is sitting over 9%. This was the consensus. Many of these people are educated, which struck me as interesting given they can tell you everything wrong with the Fed-which I agree with but have no real sense of how an economy works or what impacts the capitalist system; ie the government! They refuse to believe that the government was behind the easy loans- Fannie and Freddie for example- and refuse to believe that people should have had a level of personal responsibility regarding home affordability in the first place before they chose a ballon or ARM. I had one college age lady tell me that the government should “provide” jobs and housing to citizens as well as healthcare. This speaks to the socialistic underpinnings of OWS. It also speaks to why the media has been so enamored with them over say Tea Party events. I was pressed on my postion and I gladly offered that corporate America is nothing more than an extension of ourselves. It is not some boggie man in the closet. Its made up of our neighbors and people we grew up with and is certainly not some sub-class of our culture but merely a reflection of our economy itself. The attack in my view is more against those citizens that have chosen a path of working for upward mobility(climbing the ladder) through performance and achievement versus those that have chosen to take a different path. Resentment permeates through what I witnessed eventhough they have valid points to make regarding the system I persoannly feel the target is sorely misplaced.



    • Sara for America Says:

      Well, that’s my point. These folks are resentful, but they don’t blame government promising things it can’t afford to provide….. They blame capitalism, and want a new system to replace it. What that means is up in the air, and Michael Moore thinks he and the Occupiers are going to be the new “founding fathers”:

      “Well there’s no system right now that exists. We’re going to create that system. This movement, this movement in the next year, or two, or few years is going to create a democratic economic system. That’s the most important thing. Whatever we come up with it has to have at its core — the American people are going to be the one’s controlling this economy. We’re going to have a say, a big say, the say in how this economy is run,” Moore said.”

      Moore says the Occupy group and himself have “declared” the current economic system as over. “It’s just a matter of time until we make that happen,” Moore said.



      • Jonathan Scott Says:

        Moore frankly is nothing more than a capitilistic opportunist in his own right Sara. I do not recall him releasing his movies for free. He is a classic do as I say not as I do example in the same light as an Al Gore- flying in private jets and preaching to us about global warming and how executives never fly commercial. The American people do control this economy! We have the freedom to buy or not buy and yet people like Moore want to do just the opposite. They want us to have no choice in the matter. Heathcare is a classic example. It must be mandated that we all have it regardless of whether we want it or not and of course someone else will determine just how much insurance we must carry and then what level of care we will receive. How about I determine what level of care I will receive by what policy I deem is suitable for me and my family? Note however no made dash to force us to all have life insurance:) Americans have a bigger say in the success of this economy than any other society in the world. Notice how Moore and his meek never seem to want to address the productivity issues that have crippled the economy from within the labor force in large part bron out of the liberal notions of entitlement brought about by labor and collective bargaining. I wonder in Moore’s new economy will performance matter? Or will the government merely continue to pick the winners and losers?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: