Occupy Portland, A Working Mom’s Frame of Mind

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October 25, 2011 by David Gillaspie

“Ten years ago George W came to Portland,” the man said. “Since I work in downtown I saw the whole show.”

What he saw was a protest against The War, The Republicans, The Administration.

“I’ve got a lot of women, a lot of moms, working in my building. They park their cars in a garage across the street. At the end of the day they drive out to pick up their kids.”

They drove into the protest and became the target.

“These guys on the sidewalks started pounding their cars, rocking them. These are women racing the clock to their daycare to avoid the ten dollars a minute late charge.”

Have you ever been in a car surrounded by angry people screaming and beating the hood like you were a war criminal set free?

“These women don’t forget. They haven’t forgotten what it was like being singled out. The glass between their rolled up windows and the mob seemed too thin to give them any comfort. They needed to get out of town and into the rest of their lives, but protesters blocked them and beat on their cars.”

Ten years back it was President Bush’s smirk that triggered a reaction, that gathered the tribes to take action…against working moms?

“These same women see Occupy Portland and remember an encounter from ten years ago. It’s not helpful, but it’s human nature. The people look the same in the campsite as they did whacking cars and blocking streets. They’re probably not the same people, but tell that to someone who got caught up in it before.”

If you’ve ever had the joy of racing to a daycare where the staff waits to go home, waits for you, and you’re the last one, then you know the tunnel-vision at the end of every day.

“Does my building feel sympathy for Occupy Portland? Do the people who show up for work day in and day out spend their lunch time talking to the campers? We have a cafeteria downstairs with a public restroom. I don’t know if it was an Occupy Portland camper, but someone found a guy on the floor in the bathroom with a needle beside him. They CPR’d him and called an ambulance. After that, they shut the restroom down to the public.”

Being part of a protest means bringing who you are with you. Even a junkie.

“There’s another restroom two levels down where one of the guys working here saw two men fixing at the sink. Not in a stall, not behind a locked door, but right there at the sink like it was normal. It’s not normal.”

What does a protest need to be successful? Heroin? Crack? Booze? Weed? Every party needs a push, but no, it’s not pushing heroin.

A protest doesn’t have a drug screen for its participants, but it might help to screen ideology. What would that checklist look like?

Democrat…Republican…Tea Party…Libertarian…Constitutionalist…Anarchist…or the favorite, “Hey man, what’s happening?”

Tip o’ the Day: Get the moms in the world on board for a protest and you’ll see results.

When a football team shows up to play on a muddy grass field, they slip around unless they have their long cleats for traction. Mothers are the long cleats in this world. They are the traction; they give traction. Remember when they used to tell you to clean up your room?

What they meant was clean up your life. That’s the lesson.

Get organized and put things where they belong, where you can find them, which isn’t the middle of the floor for someone else to step on. While you’re at it, do a little extra, like clean up the kitchen after you’ve made lunch. If there are dishes you didn’t use, clean them up too.

The two minutes you spend on someone else’s mess gives you the authority to explain the importance of looking around and doing what needs doing. It gives you your moral outrage when you see others messing up your space. If you’re better than that, why can’t others be better too?

“The moms in my building haven’t forgotten what happened ten years ago. The protesters pounding on their cars hammered something into them that hasn’t gone away. It’ll take more than a muddy campout by the police station to change their minds.” 

Memo to Occupy Portland: treat mothers well, theirs’ is a voice you want on your side.

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