Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 18
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- TJ from PB
The OSD Chronicles - Part 9/Epilogue
FEB 10/12 - As I stood in front of the San Diego convention center on saturday afternoon holding a sign, I couldn't help but think what might have been. Right when the OSD should have been at its strongest the fact was just the opposite. It was in complete disarray. As we demonstrated with other groups like the orange clad Peace and Freedom party it dawned on me that what should have been the OSD's moment to shine was in reality its swan song. For the OSD in its original guise no longer even existed. Three days earlier on Feb 8th, at the last officially sanctioned GA meeting in Freedom Plaza, the OSD officially separated into two factions. With one faction moving back to where it all started, Childrens Park. None of this seemed to diminish the passion of the demonstrators around me. Although it did negatively influence our tactics. There weren't any. No cohesion whatsoever. Splinter groups did what they wanted. One group repeatedly chanted an obscene chant that I'd never liked. Some crossed the street and entered the convention center while others stood outside on the Gouge Lamp District side. Some like myself just roamed about solo or in pairs. I crossed the street and posted up by the large open staircase near the light signal. As I gazed at the convention goers it suddenly dawned on my fifty year old carcass that politics was just that - politics. In my Websters New World dictionary, Politics is defined as The science of government, political affairs, political methods, tactics etc. A politician is defined as One actively engaged in politics, often used with implications of seeking personal or party gain, scheming etc. The convention goers around me all wanted to be players in the political game. It was a business. You could feel it. What I couldn't feel was a drop of altruism. These people around me wanted to be a part of the existing system. Me I want to change the system. And so did the original elements in the OSD movement. The greatest enemy of the OSD movement was not the brutal SDPD, lame duck Mayor Sanders, gung ho Bonnie Dumanis, SD's elitist media, or even self serving operatives. They all did what such powers would be expected to do. They played out their roles to the script. The wild cards were the people themselves and the democratic party. The force that the OSD could not withstand was the Dem party. Because when the donkeys could not co opt the Occupy movement as the elephants had done to the tea party(by absorbing it). They sought to remove it from play. From the very beginning, the OSD was vocally adament about not affiliating with any party. Even though many had democratic leanings they kept 'party talk' to a minimum. A good portion of OSDers (myself included) had advocated for a third party. An Occupy party. Only then could we change the 'business as usual' two party system. Had this happened, the donkeys would have lost a lot more votes than the elephants. All of a sudden, I'd had enough. I know I'm just a dumb dishwasher but dang nabbitt even dumb dishwashers get fed up. I'm usually pretty low key when it comes to demonstrating but not this time. Especially after one OSDer sidled up to me and informed me that each convention goer was given a goody bag which contained among other things an Occupy button. With friends like the donkeys, OSD didn't need any enemies. I started shouting at the top of my lungs, "THE REAL PATRIOTS ARE OUTSIDE THE BUILDING HOLDING SIGNS!, THE REAL PATRIOTS ARE OUTSIDE THE BUILDING HOLDING SIGNS!..." A middle aged Latina who wore a badge identifying her as a delegate for a Latina politician I once greatly admired got into my face. The verbal altercation that ensued was crude, vulgar, ugly and completely necessary (Yes, I wrote necessary). She screamed that we should work with them because they were trying to change things from 'the inside.' I screamed back that if you were allowed into 'the inside' then you've already compromised yourself to some extent by perpetuating the existence of such a flawed system. By the time she stormed off she was calling me "Man!" And I was calling her "Woman!" A low moment in both our debating histories I'm sure. EPILOGUE The convention debacle, the official break up of OSD, as well as physical and mental exhaustion marked the month of February 2012 for me. Despite it all I wanted badly to continue on but down in my heart I knew the cause was lost. Somebody said that the Occupy movement was when the American people stood up in indignation then meekly sat right back down. I don't buy that. I was there. We had hands gently (sometimes firmly) pushing down on our shoulders. Occupy threatened the status quo. And so it had to go. The USA needs leaders not politicians. There's a difference. Good leaders aren't always good politicians and it's politicians who get elected. The Occupy movement did not want leaders and I feel this hurt the movement. There certainly were some skilled leaders in the OSD. They just weren;t allowed to lead. In times of crisis (like now), nations need leaders. What they don't need are politicians, leaderless movements, or worst of all politicians trying to co opt leaderless movements(Ray Lutz, John K, Diaz...). I'm just a blue collar guy but I know that. Maybe next time we'll get it right. "COFFEE'S READY, GOTTA GO...!!!"