Why, yes, to answer my earlier question, fourth generation television watchers have forgotten how to live in a 360-degree world beyond our television screens, silver screens, computer monitors, windscreens, and, still further exacerbating our narcissistic cultural disorder, screens on our personal digital devices. Either that, or yesterday’s port shutdown by Occupy Seattle was sponsored by none other than Dupont, manufacturer of the popular home construction wrap, Tyvek.
“DO NOT ENGAGE WITH THE POLICE!” a young woman shrieks instructions into a megaphone. What? Who died and made this person our new dictator?
Police are people too.
People who, beneath the uniform, the weapons, and their orders, get paid not a whole lot of money to don those uniforms, clock in, and perform their jobs with a target on their backs, each shift running the risk of not returning home to their families.
The police are the people who, yesterday evening, were tactically responsible for blockading the road and closing the port terminal long before most of the protestors arrived on the scene, protecting and serving, just as their job description mandates.
And it seems to me that engagement, dialogue, reciprocation is precisely what is missing from our shared world, where the rules of engagement are broken or have changed.
“THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING!” the megaphone blares again. Really? The whole world? Or just the world right in front of our faces?
A far greater percentage of the world was watching last night’s Sounders’ game, as we learn after making the trek from the port back to downtown, the portion of the population that is content with the world the way it is, satisfied with their paychecks and branded entertainments and sport utility vehicles. With another activist, I get separated from the others in a sea of people wearing blue and spunky green, and there we engage with a member of Seattle’s Police Department. With vehicular traffic stalled in three directions and obedient to the pedestrian signal granting permission, we scurry across an intersection.
“DO ORANGE CONES MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?” he bawls at us sarcastically. To our bewilderment and dismay, two middle-aged ladies looking to escape the crowd, the cold, and find a city bus returning us to our separate homes. The officer seems inordinately disappointed to have pulled traffic-conducting duties, thereby missing out on the action at the port.
(From my window, as I sit typing this, I can see an orange construction cone, tipped over, left behind in my yard from months ago. What that orange cone says to me is the city gas workers are none too thorough in cleaning up after themselves.)
Maybe it is just that we interpret our signs differently.
“WHAT DO CONES SAY TO YOU?” the officer’s tirade continues.
“Ice cream!” I call out impulsively, but not until we safely cross the street again, and dissolve into giggles, like girls.
Maybe a slim handful of us are just struggling to find another interpretation for “success,” one that prioritizes humanity above profit.