Say What You Will About Occupy Dallas. But I Find It Inspiring. That's Right. You Heard Me.
I walked for a while yesterday with those Occupy Dallas people. I don't care what anybody says. They're cool. You know why? Because they're awake.
People were all over the map about their specific issues. Some of them talked to me about Timothy Geithner and President Obama's failure to put bankers in jail. Some talked to me about oxyhydrogen ("I can run my car on nothing but water") and antineoplaston ("Way more effective than chemotherapy").
I'm not sure everybody's specific personal agenda is the important thing. What's more important is the awakening itself -- the bond of marching, the fusion of individuals into a mighty force. And don't get me wrong. There was real focus. The mantra of "We Are The 99" is a powerful battle cry, and people out there knew exactly what they meant by it.
I asked Zach Kazarinoff, a 25-year-old musician, why he was marching.
"I am supporting solidarity with people in New York and Boston and elsewhere in the world," he told me. "I am against huge economic disparity between the top and the bottom. I am here because I want to end the wars. I want to have more of our government money toward education, toward helping people in need, toward health care. I am here because I want to see some change in our government and our world and our economic system."
Susan Nichols, 46, and a man with her who gave his name as "John Doe" drove in from Marshall to march. I asked why.
"To stop corporate greed," she said.
"We can't afford to remain silent any more," he said. "None of us can."
"We're getting fed up," she said. "People get apathetic and think they can't do anything."
Photo by Stephen A. Masker
Marching changes that. Marching is ferocious magic. Marching turned fear into power in the Civil Rights Movement. It brought the corporate/university war machine to heel in the Vietnam anti-war movement. Marching liberated South Africa. And, of course, it ripped Northern Ireland's guts out.
Marching is a mighty force that commands respect. None of us knows exactly how or why. It is beyond rational explanation.
Maybe it's the rebirth of hope. Just being out there, being a part of it lifts people up out of despair. Mavis Belisle, 67, who describes herself a retired peace activist, said to me, "Maybe things are working again."
Cameron Wilson, 24, was hobbling along on crutches after losing a foot in a car wreck. "You can't pinpoint it," he said. "I'm out here because of the of the secrecy which the government continues to hold on to."
He's the guy who talked to me about running cars on water and that other thing, anti-neo-plasticism or something. I just nodded yes. I think I'm against that too.
From the day of Thomas Jefferson to today, nothing has ever put the fear of God in the hearts of the greedy like the sound of boots trampling the cobblestones. It is a mighty voice.
I heard it here in Dallas five years ago when half a million Latinos marched from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe to City Hall. It was good to hear it again yesterday. It means we were only asleep, not dead. Not yet.