by Tom Degan
Zuccotti Park is Morphing in the rain.
I got the phone call from Harragin on Saturday morning, the twelfth of November. He was on his way to Zuccotti Park to be part of the occupation that is the focus of the nation. Would I like to come along for the ride?
"Uh, New York? This morning??? Um, well....Aw, hell, Johnny, I've got nothing better to do. I'll come along, what the heck."
First a fe w word s about John Harragin. Other than Kevin Swanwick and Jeff Warren (both of whom you might have read about within these pages) he is one of my oldest friends in the world. It's hard for me to even fathom this but we go back almost forty years. He's always had a keen awareness of injustice and hypocrisy which makes him the ideal traveling companion to witness the W all Street Occupation in "real time" s o to speak. He's also proving to the world that solar power is a viable form of energy. He is now installing panels on his house and in six months time, the entire place will be powered by the sun. He says, "If I c an do it, that means we as a society can do it."
Somewhere along the way we became a bit disoriented and John inquired of a police officer, "Excuse me, sir. Can you tell us how to get to Zuccotti Park?"
"No." was his gruff answer. We were in fact less than three blocks away. John flashed his mile-wide grin and began to gently tease the cop: "Aw, c'mon! I know you know where it is!"
"What do you wanna go there for?" he asked, obviously exasperated.
We're going there for you! " said John. The guy just rolled his eyes. It was clear that he was fed up with this revolution, and that he just wanted things to get back to normal. How could we get him to understand that things would never be normal again? Best not to even try, I thought. He'll find out soon enough, poor guy. I tried to convince him that we were important and respected journalists on a dual assignment representing the National Review and FOX News, but it was all to no avail. It was blatantly apparent that neither one of us were dressed for the part. We looked more like correspondents from Mad Magazine. We'd have to find our way to Zuccotti Park on our own. Fortunately for us this proved to be not-too-difficult a task.
Arriving at this gathering is hard to put into mere words. If you've ever been an eye-witness to something yo u were certain historians will be discussing a century after your death, you'll know what I'm talking about. There is an energy that is palpable. The people here know very well that collectively they are the seed that will eventually produce the fruit that's going to turn this country around. No doubt about it: Zuccotti Park is the place to be. Y'all come down now, ya hear?
If you're naive enough to rely on Rupert Murdoch's propaganda empire for your news and information, you'll be forgiven for having a warped understanding of what is now happening down in Zuccotti Park. In this morning's New York Post Toasties , they r an a front page photograph of some guy they identified as a "Occupy Wall Street protester" being dragged out of some event he was disrupting - in Queens! Obviously he was not part of the Wall Street occupation, but that's how the Post and FOX Noise do business. They send their cameras down there and seek out the most disreputable (in their minds) people they can find, broadcasting the images as your typical Wall Street Occupier: Filthy, unkempt radicals.
BREAKING NEWS: THEY'RE LYING TO YOU. Film at eleven.
All of the people that John and I encountered on this day were very kind and well behaved. About the weirdest thing I saw was a young woman in a pink dress who ran passed me at full-speed yelling, "I've gotta pee really badly!!!" Other than that little incident it was a very relaxed scene. And if some of them were a tad " untidy ", well, how tidy would you be after almost two months of being exposed to the elements? I tip my hat to them all . Forgive the cliche, but these are beautiful people.