12.01.2011 0

Occupy D.C. now stands for Occupy Drug City

By Rebecca DiFede — Having visited McPherson Square (the location of the Occupy D.C. movement) during its beginning stages, I returned to scope out how it had grown and changed, if at all. And boy, was I in for a surprise.

The quaint, controlled scene that I had enjoyed then was no more; the twenty or so scattered tents have quadrupled, and every open space in the park has been taken over by mega tents made up of smaller ones connected to each other by rope and tarp. There was a sort of general store, dubbed the “info tent”, as well as a “library” tent full of books as well as several make-shift food stands.

There was also a “solar shower”, which consisted of a bag full of water attached to a metal pole that apparently ran on solar power to dispense a semblance of cleanliness on these huddled masses. Green jobs, ladies and gentlemen.

And the inhabitants, the passionate, vibrant and informed youths that I had spoken to in October, seem to have moved on to perhaps (gasp!) get back to work. Now there exists only a disgruntled and scraggly looking group of people who seemed to be more interested in rolling their own cigarettes and hiding in their tents than talking to us.

Several of the people I attempted to have a conversation with were either definitely too high to speak, or told me so. To quote one such “enlightened” occupier, “Sorry dude, I just smoked up. Can’t talk right now.”

Wow. With such articulate and powerful speech, it’s astonishing that everyone in town hasn’t quit their jobs to Occupy Drug City.

The two people we actually found that agreed to speak on camera were, at first glance, from different ends of the spectrum. One man, Tim Butterworth, was a soldier of the older generation. He proudly donned his “Solidarity” sticker just for the interview, and spoke of how he joined the movement to make the world better for his granddaughter. He is recently retired and a member of the Occupy movement while living off of retirement benefits and Social Security. Think about that the next time you look at that gaping hole in your paycheck.

The second man, named Turtle (seriously), was an impassioned young kid who had quit his job in Philadelphia to join in the Occupy Wall Street march to Occupy D.C.

Yes, you read that right. A bunch of people got together and walked from Wall Street to K Street, making stops in Philadelphia, Maryland, and other surrounding states. According to Turtle, churches, inspired citizens and a senator opened their homes to this group of protestors as they trekked 250 miles, only to prepare to leave on Thursday morning for another journey down to Occupy Atlanta. Well, at least they’re getting their exercise.

The saddest part about all of this is that the formerly muddled mission has now been completely lost in the ironic and seemingly pointless quest to build bigger and bigger tent cities.

Homeless people have moved into the camp, and countless individuals seem to be sitting around with no idea what the cause is except to have a place to call their own (guess mom’s couch does get old after awhile).

I seem to remember the original protestors that I spoke with talking about how the government has taken away their jobs and their money and so they were sitting in McPherson Square, and parks around the country to prove a point. But now, it seems that the people currently occupying space in downtown D.C. either aren’t attempting to find employment because they are just too busy sitting in their new Kelty two-person tent, or because they, like Turtle, quit their job to join the Occupy movement.

How can you complain about not having a job when you gave yours up to join a group of people who are complaining about not having a job? Kind of makes your head spin, doesn’t it?

So after talking to these and other members of the community, no one could tell us exactly where all of the pricey name brand tents and other supplies came from, save for a few who claimed they were all donations from people who “believed in the cause”. Must have been someone with pretty deep pockets, because despite my belief in a wide-range of good causes, I would be hesitant to outfit everyone that works for their headquarters with $400 piece of equipment.

All in all, the experience taught me something: any movement, no matter how noble or mentally-stable its intentions, can garner enough bandwagon support to topple the wagon altogether. What was once an organized, educated band of rebellious pundits has transformed into a dirty, sketchy mass of homeless people, drug addicts and the odd ball job-dropouts.

In any case, if you have an opportunity to head over to observe this seething mass of humanity…don’t.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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