I really want to attend, but I have not had the time, ability or resources to get down there. I live just outside of Philadelphia. Occupy Philly is pretty big and has enjoyed a mostly peaceful movement. There have been bumps here and there, but the Mayor originally encouraged the occupiers and welcomed them. Philadelphia is largely union so there has been a lot of support in that regard.
I would definitely take my children (5 years and 11 weeks) with me. Occupy Philadelphia has been pretty family-friendly so far. My son accompanied me to a few protests at local hospitals (regarding the right for women to have empowered births - originally stemming from the firing of a midwife from one of the hospitals) 2 years ago. Keeping safety in mind, I think it's important for them to see this in action. It's a powerful lesson. I'm the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran who came home from the war and immediately marched on Washington, handcuffing himself to the fence outside the White House. I grew up listening to his stories. When I was 11 or 12 years old, my brother - now in Heaven - was arrested several times out West for chaining himself to trees and participating in other protests. Activism is important in my family. I also attended Catholic grade school and High School where they continually emphasized social justice.
The media coverage is distressing. Many television news reports will air stories about the movement and they will act as if they are trying to remain neutral, but they always get some sort of dig at the end of the report. The familiar tag line is to mention how much the movement costs the city. The dominant talk radio station in my town is primarily conservative and the show hosts have not been congenial towards the occupiers. Often, they resort to name-calling and dismissive statements ("just a bunch of hippies whining because they want hand-outs). The same goes for our suburban newspapers. The general consensus among many in my town is that this is a failed movement full of drum-beating hippies who are jealous of millionaires and want to take money away from everyone. I should mention I live in a fairly affluent and conservative pocket where the wealth disparity is substantial. You have million dollar houses 50 yards away from apartments where many residents live in poverty. Many people in my area are not supportive of the movement.
We were in Massachusetts last week and what I heard on the radio was distressing, to say the least. One radio show host - I believe his name is Michael Graham - was saying that he wished the OWS protesters would piss the cops off enough so that the cops would "have no other choice than to use deadly force." Then he said, "once you kill one of them, you have to kill all of them." He had caller after caller after caller commenting on violent ways to "remedy" the movement. Another radio show host, I forget his name, said he was hoping and praying that an incoming Nor'Easter would wash all the protesters away and that any who remained would freeze to death in the snow storms. Again, more callers with comments supporting harm to the protesters. Besides the violence, I noticed these talk show folks would refer to the protesters as "barbarians," "scum," "filth," "losers" etc. etc. It was so sad...because THIS is what people focus on. They hear all these media folks referring to us as barbarians. They listen to lies about violence, rapes or drugs and the focus on the few bad apples out of the whole movement. All of this inflammatory language against the movement is dangerous.
I do what I can since I have not been able to attend an actual event or visit a site. I speak about it on my Facebook page and I correct any misinformation that my friend's post. I challenge anyone who posts such things to back up their "facts" and then I lead them to websites, articles and blogs to hopefully enlighten them. I'm going to start printing and passing out fliers for events in my area as they arise. I'm doing what I can. I'm certainly not a loser without a life. I'm a mom of two. I am college educated. I hold a license in my field. My job doesn't pay very much. I work in a field where being licensed is important, but anyone can get my job without a license and get paid half of what I do. The state won't regulate much, especially now with our new Republican governor. His only focus is drilling for gas and cutting government services. I've worked since I was a teenager. I do have student loan debt. My loans would have all been paid for twice over if not for the exorbitant interest rates. My husband recently lost his job of 6 years. With it, we lost our Dental insurance, which is very much needed in our family. I work very, very part time and am currently on maternity leave from work with no guarantee that my job is waiting for me. My employer has been making a lot of cuts. We don't have health insurance and I have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. I'm supposed to see a cardiologist once a year, but I don't because we can't afford it. My husband just broke his toe and we didn't seek treatment. We taped it up and hope for the best. I have a bad esophageal condition that needs attention, but we can't do anything about it at the moment. When my husband was employed he was unable to get health insurance. In order to get the most basic plan with a very high deductable he would have had 88% of his paycheck deducted. It was impossible. My kids do have CHIP, a fact that I'm not apologetic for in the least. We're not losers looking for hand outs at all. We're pissed off at injustice. My husband's company is worth billions of dollars, yet many employees are in poverty. My former job paid very little, yet the owner would take a three week vacation to go sailing with his family - that's in addition to the "mini" vacations they'd take throughout the year. It's a shame when parents have to chose between basic utilities and food. It's a shame when people have to ignore health problems because they can't afford a simple visit to the doctor. No one is asking to be served the world on a gilded plate. We're simply asking for some justice.