So, tonight I'm going back to a topic I missed altogether, when I was dealing with the monsoon and the midnight shipwreck and the beautiful servant girl who pulled me from the sea, warmed my breath with hers and--oh, wait, that wasn't me. Anyway, the topic was "Occupied." Which could mean anything, of course, but I think I was supposed to refer to those folks who began Occupying Wall Street (#OWS) two months ago and gradually spread across the country, Occupying one city after another as they went. They even (gasp!) Occupied Dallas.
Far be it from me to suggest that Dallas has a flair for organization or anything, but the folks at Occupy Dallas had me pretty impressed. For one thing, they have their own web site, which is still operational even though the police moved in and trashed their encampment the day before yesterday, at about 1:00 in the morning. (More on that later.) The Occupy movement has been criticized for failing to have a nice party platform on which to stand. (Of course, the Tea Partiers have a "party platform" with only one plank, which states, "We hate anything Obama ever touched, and it's not because he's black, either," and that seems to be good enough for Fox News, but I digress.) A quick look at this Web site tells you that a platform is being hashed out as we speak. OD is opposed to cutting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. They're in favor of sustainability, especially as it pertains to economics. They like to meet and discuss things rather than have some person-in-charge make decisions for them. They're promoting the Occupation Proclamation. Oh, and just incidentally, they're not in favor of one A.M. police raids. Particularly when the city of Dallas told them that they could stay.
Here's what happened. The city manager sent an eviction notice to Occupy Dallas, informing them that they had to move out of their camp south of City Hall because of what she termed "numerous rule violations." Occupy Dallas filed for an injunction against the city, citing their First Amendment rights to peaceable assembly. A Federal judge said no, but Occupy Dallas didn't get evicted on Tuesday. In fact City spokesman Frank Librio said that attorneys for both sides would meet again Wednesday morning to discuss what would happen next. Tuesday evening, the Mayor Himself issued a statement, saying that "...no action will be taken this evening at Occupy Dallas. City attorneys will discuss the next steps with this group's legal representation tomorrow."
And true to their word, the city did not evict the protesters Tuesday. They waited until Thursday at one A.M., at which time "hundreds of cops" descended on Occupy Dallas and chased everybody out. The situation, the police explained, had just become "untenable."
Here's what I think. I think the situation had become "embarrassing." After all, if New York and Chicago and L.A. could chase protesters out of their public parks, what in hell was Dallas doing, just fooling around? Clearly a world-class city like Dallas had better evict its protesters, too, lest it look stoopid next to the bigger kids on the block. You know, the ones who will give you a wedgie at the bus stop if you aren't cool enough to join their gang. And yes, that does seem to be about the mentality we were dealing with there. From everybody concerned.
So what's next for Occupy Dallas? I don't know, but I'm keeping an eye on the Web site. The whole thing's been awfully interesting. In the meantime, I plan to Occupy Richardson. Or rather Afrah. See you on Main Street.