"I have mixed feelings about it. I mean, wouldn't their time be better spent looking for jobs?" That's what a friend said the other day when we told him that we were going to check out what was going on with Seattle's version of Occupy Wall Street. In touching base with other family members and friends, we were shocked to learn that many people think the movement is comprised of mostly homeless and jobless people.
Ah, how rumors get started. We want to set the record straight.
1) It's diverse.
When we went to hang out with the Occupy Seattle crew, we weren't surprised to see a lot of diversity in the crowd. After all, many people from all walks of life are dissatisfied with the economic climate we're living in.
We saw lots of teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers, skilled laborers and students. It was a peaceful, friendly and determined crowd.
2) It's focused.
The movement has united people – whether doing "well" or not – who see the current economic model as being unsustainable. One nurse we spoke to attended because she is tired of seeing an increased number of patients who aren't taking care of themselves. In her experience, the rising cost of healthcare keeps both the insured and uninsured from coming in for care.
A guy we chatted with was lending his voice because he was laid off by one of the bailed out banks (and no executives were).
It was interesting to see such a variety of concerns that all pointed back to one central theme – a system that no longer works for many people.
3. It's democracy.
So often, people who lend their voices to a cause, get labeled as trouble makers. We spent a sunny day peacefully uniting in the streets with other concerned citizens.
Again, the crowd was full of smart people determined to make change happen. Of course, any kind of public gathering attracts some uncool behavior, but that was a rare exception during our time with Occupy Seattle.
4. It's important.
If you're lucky enough to live in a democracy, it's important to play an active role. Is something on your mind? Do something about it.
We had a blast and left feeling invigorated, as we always do after advocating for something we believe in.
Take a stand!