December 23, 2011 Washington D.C. The organizers of Occupy DC announced today they are closing down the encampment at McPherson Square. Started October 1st 2011, just three weeks after protestors took over Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan as their site of Occupy Wall Street, OccupyDC has been spiraling downward almost since it’s inception.
“There’s just been too many people here with their own agenda,” said a spokesman for OccupyDC who chose to remain anonymous. “When people have their own agendas and reasons for being here, that’s not helpful to unity and the mission statement of OccupyDC.”
OK, that ‘news’ item is not real. I made it up. Or did I? While no one has yet announced the closing of OccupyDC, the item you just read might be something you’ll see in the next several months or even weeks….unless.
There’s still time to keep this ship of mostly angry, mostly young, mostly male protestors sailing safely between the rocky shore of obliteration and the other shore of apathy. But some changes in course need to be made immediately.
First, let’s start raising the expected standards of behavior instead of continually lowering the bar. One of the biggest contributor’s to the ongoing troubles of McPherson Square is the amount of public drunkenness and illegal drug use that’s tolerated. When you take a city park that is practically full of testosterone laden kids in their 20s and add alcohol you should be able to see the problem that is being created. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that mixing those two chemicals together only spell trouble. Instead of tolerating the drunk in public, let him know that this is NOT acceptable behavior and will NOT be tolerated if he (yes, the problem drinkers are mostly males) wants to continue to be a part of OccupyDC. In order to take the burden off the shoulder of a selected “de-escalation” committee of where to place the bar, the movement needs to set just one standard against which all behavior can be measured. “Does this particular behavior enhance or degrade OccupyDC”.
Second, practice the One-Strike Rule. There’s concern in the park about the behavior of people that’s becoming more and more destructive. The solution that is in the winds now is to implement a three-strike-and-you’re-out program. This creates more problems than it solves. What will be the “strikable” offenses? If I punch you in your nose then I shouldn’t be allowed two more chances to receive an attitude adjustment by being told I need to find other housing. If I’m walking around at 4:15 in the morning shouting at the top of my lungs and waking people up, well, out I go. Again, the standard of measure is, “Does this particular behavior enhance or degrade OccupyDC”. Shouting at the top of my lungs outside The White House about the injustice of NDAA 1031 supports OccupyDC while shouting at the top of my lungs when others are trying to sleep doesn’t support the mission. Simple enough, right?
Another problem that is created by the three-strike-and-you’re-out rule. Precisely who is going to keep “score”? Are we going to have a bunch of tie-dyed Nazi’s running around with clipboards recording behavior and playing hall-monitor? I think that idea went out of style when I was in Mrs. Simpson’s third grade class. But yet, here goes a bunch of twentysomethings who think the world began when they were born trying to re-invent the wheel.
That’s it for now. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll share some other ideas that I’ve come up with for makin sure that OccupyDC can continue to meet it’s mission statement.
Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content and he is a regular contributor to Huffington Post as well as OpEdNews. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.
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