“This is where we occupy”
Tent city at the San Diego Civic Center.
Stuck to a cement block at Children’s Park in San Diego, the birthplace of Occupy San Diego
I went down to the Occupy San Diego event mostly to check out the scene. I have only loosely been following what has been going on with Occupy Wall Street. From my point of view, the movement seemed pretty mixed. No one coherent message etc. What was inspiring was the rejection of complacency.
For the last 10 years especially, I feel the american public has become complacent. The aftermath of 9/11 saw many freedoms taken away in the name of safety. We were complacent. We went to war, and we were complacent. People started losing their houses and we turned our backs and said “if people were too stupid to take those loans, they deserve it.” We looked at people who were dying because they didn’t have health insurance and said “well, if they were too stupid to get health insurance, that’s their problem. And if they couldn’t afford it, maybe they should work harder.” We watched the banks destroy the economy and watched as thousands lost their jobs, and we sat complacent.
FINALLY, we are standing up. We are recognizing there is a problem. We are recognizing that WE have power.
I checked out the scene Friday night and was impressed. People being nice to each other. Helping each other. Feeding each other. People engaged in political discourse. People sharing their stories. It was inspiring.
Saturday, I grabbed my backpack, a tent and sleeping bag, and some food and water and headed down. I stayed the night and most of the next day. I left my tent down there for a fellow occupant to use on the days I cannot be there. I plan on occupying as much as my schedule allows and helping out in other ways when I cannot.
My time at occupy so far has given me a lot to think about. How do I fit in? What is my story?
I did everything ‘right’ so to speak. I went to college, got a good job with great health insurance. I realize that I have been very fortunate and privileged. A year and a half ago I lost my job. I had $60,000+ of medical expenses that were not covered by insurance. My lease was coming up and I had to move. I was scared. Luckily I was able to find a great job and got back on my feet but this experience stuck with me. It was hard to believe how quickly my situation could change. One moment I was on top of the world and the next I was worrying about being homeless. It made me think about those less fortunate than I. If I was struggling, in all my privilege, how must other people be struggling? How have we gotten to this place where all it takes is one medical issue, or accident or death of a family member to send you spiraling downward? How have we managed, as a country, to sit by and watch this happen time and again and turn away and still blame the victim as if they are not working hard enough, or are stupid, or are inferior. This can happen to all of us.
This movement is making it clear that we have the power to change things and make this country better. And I will be part of it.