Like many of you, I was initially electrified by the simple and division-shattering message of Occupy Wall Street: “Get money out of politics.” Certainly at least 99% of us concur with that statement to some real and identifiable degree, don’t we? Don’t you?
What you are hearing right now is the sound of one of the oldest saws known in human history: The true oppressors creating a false narrative and a false dichotomy (“Cops vs. Hippies”) out of egregious, and rather conspicuously well-documented, acts of police brutality. Ever wonder why the footage of Lieutenant Pike, the officer who became notorious overnight for pepper-spraying peaceful protestors at UC Davis, has never been censored from any site? Why haven’t cops been grabbing cameras out of protesters’ hands while they document beatings of women? Why has every single one of us seen the image of the pepper-spray-soaked face of an 80-year-old protestor?
Maybe they want us to see.
If we buy into this narrative—“Those cops are evil sadistic assholes! They can’t wait to smack you in the head with their batons…they’re dying to pepper-spray your ass! God, I hate cops!!!!”—if we buy into this narrative, let’s take a moment and notice—see? We’ve already swerved our attention fully away from the criminal acts perpetrated on our entire country—on our entire world—by the 1%. Or, as Paul Krugman astutely noted in his column two days ago, the .1%. Remember the bogeyman? The bogeyman on wiki: “An amorphous imaginary being used by adults to frighten children into behaving.”
Because I not only believe—I know—every member of the police force in this nation to be a true member of the 99.9%, I have not lost hope that every single last police officer and firefighter, every veteran and every member of every branch of the military, will join us as allies in the battle we have started against the entrenched powers that have gravely undermined the ideal of democracy itself. As Naomi Wolf pointed out last month, we have picked a big fight—a damn big fight. And I want and need the help and support of our police, our firefighters, and our military—retired and standing. I won’t give up trying to win them over to our side. Because you know what? In this particular battle, just about everybody in the entire world—whether they know it yet or not—is on our side.
That’s why I posed with a cop, as we both laughed—along with my fellow protestors and several of his uniformed colleagues—at my silly, flirtatious, and deadly earnest sign, in front of City Hall, in Austin, Texas on November 17th, 2011. He didn’t join our movement, but when you share a gut-busting laugh with someone the world calls your enemy—I tell you, it can lead to a little crush.