Or The vilification of Both Sides.
This last weekend (Nov. 12th and 13th 2011) myself and Jay went down to Portland to witness and document the events that were going to unfold when the Occupy Portland movement was forced to move from their downtown location. As Jay had noted in her article, we are neutral on the Occupy movement politics. We simply wanted to document what was happening in case any violence broke out and we didn’t want the bias of one side or another swaying the views of the events. We already have a couple of videos up on YouTube of the raw footage we took and more will be coming soon.
From this neutral standpoint, I’m going to discuss how both sides of the Occupy Movement have been shown as the “evil wrong doers” and what I personally witnessed in Portland. In my opinion, neither side is truly bad.
On the protesters’ side, they are exercising the rights we have in the Constitution. They are gathering to protest in a peaceful manner. However, because of the popularity and large numbers in the movement, bad seeds that just want to see chaos have appeared within their numbers. It’s like an office birthday party, where most people will go to wish the person well and some hate the person but will go to take the cake and wait for an opportunity to pat a “kick me” sign on the person’s back. Should we judge the entire office party on the acts of the few that went for deceitful purposes?
On the police/government side, they have to protect the people, but some officers aren’t fit to do so. From cavemen hunting prey to the latest UFC fight, humans have a natural bloodlust. As much as it pains me to say, every now and then a person with a higher blood lust than most will slip into the police force and will take any opportunity to use their shiny new baton or can of pepper spray. However, this personality type is a minority within the numbers of active police officers and they do not represent the majority of the officers in the line of duty. Yet, because of the brutality of the actions done by a small number of officers in NYC, police officers as a whole have been labeled blood thirsty, and people hateful of the protestors.
However, this has been done to both sides in the media and given the dualistic nature of western thought, and many people reading/watching the reports have done the same. I can only give my opinion on what I witnessed at Occupy Portland this weekend, and I won’t preach for either side of the protest.
The two nights I was down in the protest areas, both sides were very peaceful. There were a handful of anarchists and Anonymous) in the protestor camp, but they quickly left when the police advanced. We recorded video within the protest camp at Pioneer Square and the leaders thanked everyone for being peaceful and not raising violence towards the police officers or other protestors. I feel that during the night before (Saturday) there was a major divide in the camp between the violent and non-violent protestors, but the two factions parted ways and the peaceful protestors stayed to show their commitment to their cause. This isn’t the first time in history for a large group to divide into peaceful and violent sections. During the Civil Rights Movement the debate of peaceful and violent protesting methods became to the focal point and the cause divided into the two areas and continued the cause in their own manner. With the Occupy movement, the two sides went their separate ways, the peaceful protestors complied and left the main area and regrouped at Pioneer Square calmly and peacefully, while the other section seemed to have slowly dispersed in the night.
The police were just as respectful to everyone while we were present as well. The police officers were prepared for the worst, but that is to be expected when rumors of violence have been spreading throughout Portland and the news well in advance. Even if it’s just rumors, the police need to take them seriously in case they are true. To be in the standard gear would be stupid and dangerous if the bad seeds broke out. Officers and civilians would be seriously injured and possibly dead if they didn’t have that gear on. Jay and I had talked an officer of the Portland force (whose name I will not state for legal/moral reasons) and he was very kind and good-hearted as were the other police officers we had interactions with. I felt no threat from either side while in the Pioneer camp or walking around the police officers.
So before jumping on the Fuck the Protesters! or the Fuck the Police! bandwagon, I urge you to take a step back and really look to see if it really is a true protester/police officer or if it is just a blood hungry human pretending to be on a side in order to cause hurt and chaos to the people and places around them.
Questions or comments? Leave them for me in the comment section below. Jay