October 21, 2011
Thus far, it appears to matter little what demands are intrinsic to Occupy Every Damned City You Can Trash because for many, the higher truth is found in the symbolism of “so many people in so many places” coming together in tents, sleeping bags, and extra-large construction-grade trash bags. These are the collective visionaries who represent what Barack Obama now agrees is “the 99 percent”—those set apart from the self-serving 1% who hoard the wealth, sleep in beds, go to work, and would rather not relieve themselves on police cars.
While it remains unclear what direction the Occupy movement will take, Shawn Coleman probably won’t be there to find out. Although a well-meaning Mr. Coleman may have merely intended to use a sharp implement to carve up the blanket into equitable squares, he’ll have to prove that to the authorities, because it seemed as if he was ready to stab a rally mate over who owns the sleeping gear.
Still, despite the blanket controversy and lack of focus, many occupiers insist they’re helping to make the world a more loving and caring place.
In the words of Hannah Kluger, a University of Hartford student who “spent two nights early in the week at Turning Point Park before taking a break to catch up with homework” (and in all likelihood charge her iPhone): “We’re forming communities here. For me, we just need a greater sense of compassion for our fellow human beings.”
Unless that means after spending the day shouting down “The Man,” storming private residences, and singing 100 choruses of “Peace Train,” occupiers are forced to split a city-issued blanket.