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The Protests

This week was an extraordinarily challenging and draining one. I am very glad that it is Friday night and that I get two days to try and recharge my batteries before we go down to Virginia for Thanksgiving.

We had some excitement at the office on Thursday, when the Occupy Wall Street protesters decided to close down Wall Street for the day. I work two blocks from Wall Street, so what they effectively also did was close down Broad Street, while screaming about closing down Wall Street. I know this, because I asked if they’d let me through to my building, and the protesters instead formed a human chain and started chanting about how they were peaceful protesters. I got into it with one of the protesters, who had no idea that he was blocking access to a building that doesn’t have a single thing to do with Wall Street, other than that we eat at the same delis as the people who work at the Stock Market.

It was stressful and scary, particularly after a cop tried to clear a space for us to get through and the protesters on the edge went nuts and attacked the cop, with cameras zooming in for video footage. And it was frustrating, because I’m 100% sympathetic to the protesters, but got presumed to be the enemy. And then I was physically blocked from going where I needed to go, which isn’t going to change a damn thing, and is just really kind of awful.

I know well that liberals eat their own. That’s exactly what I’m doing here. I think the protests are a good thing for a number of reasons. I don’t think they’re going to be directly productive, but they’re productive in the way that the Tea Party is productive. People are pissed off and now people are talking about it. They’re pissed off on the left and the right, for eerily similar reasons. So it’s good that people are protesting. Politicians may well take note. Things could potentially change for the better.

But it’s not good that the protesters are getting violent enough to physically stop people from walking down the street. Admittedly, New York is not a good city for massive gatherings. I grew up in D.C, where the avenues are wide and protests tend to happen in big parks. I grew up going to them. New York doesn’t really have those kinds of spaces, so when people protest, they do it at the expense of the neighborhood that they’re in. Businesses get blocked off. Cars get stepped on. Crowds get dense and out of control and people get hurt. That’s a lot of the reason the cops have been out in force, though it’s certainly much more popular to believe they’re just evil. Or something.

It’s a lot harder to go on the presumption that we’re mostly decent human beings at heart, but that our reactions and opinions differ. I’m getting so tired of listening to the left and the right call each other idiots, the protesters going on about how all cops are evil and against them and…well, I haven’t heard a word from the police, but the same rules apply. Both sides make mistakes. Both sides are filled with humans. Propaganda and name-calling is getting us nowhere.

I know it’s hard to listen to someone you disagree with, but do it for me.

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