Occupy Wall Street Plus Halloween: My Cunning Plan for a Little Political Compassion

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Great trick-or-treaters last night on my street. Some years we just get kids from the block. They're great. But last night we got spillover from the Halloween gala on Swiss Avenue a block away. When that happens, we get an even bigger window on the festival. Got me thinking. Check me on this.

Halloween on Swiss Avenue is its own very uniquely East Dallas kind of affair. People pile in by the van- and pickup-load from all over this part of the city. Homeowners put on special shows for them and provision themselves with enough candy for 2,500 to 3,500 sticky little hands per house.

The children and their parents form an enormous mass up and down the street. For hours the laughter of the children is like the roar of a crowd in a vast arena. But better.

Invariably, however, there is also a sadly biting edge in the event, because it is also a window on poverty. We had adults coming to the door last night without children. Some of them may have been collecting for children too little to carry their own bags, but I couldn't help suspecting that others may have been collecting candy that was to be food for themselves or somebody else.

I think that's probably tough to do. Embarrassing. Maybe even humiliating. You would only do it because you absolutely had to. I tried to hand the candy out to them in a way that was neutrally cheerful, but, you know. There was an underlying awkwardness.

So I had a great idea. Take the phenomenon on Swiss -- thousands of children in scary costumes going to the great houses for good-humored hand-outs -- and marry it a little to Occupy Wall Street. Think about it.

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Photos by Anna Merlan
Again: Some of these people in front of Dallas City Hall are in costume. Some of these people are not.
Next year Halloween will fall one week before the 2012 presidential election. So what if someone were to gather up great busloads of the poor on Halloween evening, 2012 -- I'm talking a mobilization of millions of people nationwide -- and drive them to places like Highland Park, Texas, or Highland Park, Illinois, to beg for treats?

Hey, all the kids should be Super Marios, firemen and princesses. I'm talking regular good old Halloween. If some adults want to come along without kids, just looking for a bite to eat, that would be swell too. The important thing would be the numbers.

Millions of the poor, paying a visit to the rich, just before the election. Human contact. That's all. Here we are. Lookin' at you. And all your stuff.

What do I think it would accomplish? I'm not sure. I just think it would be a good thing for the 1 percent to get a good close eyeball-to-eyeball look at the 99 percent and vice versa. It would be healthy for all of us to realize how physically close we are to each other. A hop, skip and a jump.

So what effect would it have on the election? Would it make all the fence-sitters in Highland Park vote for Rick Perry to protect them from the mob? Could be. But how many fence-sitters are there in Highland Park? I think they're going to be pretty much 100 percent in his yard anyway.

It might just go the other way. It might give people on the 1-percent side a good eyeful of the people on the 99-percent side. Wow. There sure are a lot of them. Just how hard can you push on the 99 percent and still be safe and secure on the 1-percent side? Maybe it's time for some mercy, or, as they used to call it, common decency. I believe that would be a vote against Perry.

Food for thought. Or candy, as the case may be.


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33 comments
Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

After calling the Occupy folks as a bunch of wussies, I am not sure you can be a fair judge of the movement.  Perhaps if they carried guns to politcal events you would have a bit more respect for them. 

gabbahey
gabbahey

And how long did it take for Halloween to get politicized?

Jay
Jay

You have lost sight of the issue Jim. Its not that the top 1% controls 50% of the wealth, its that the top 1% controls 100% of the politicians. If you want to hate someone, hate the politicians.

thufir_hawat
thufir_hawat

I think you may be a little behind on this one. There have been Halloween tourists by the trucks- and vans-ful in the Park Cities for at least the last decade that I can remember. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Jim, but your designated historic neighborhood enclave is not unique in attracting "busloads of the poor," to use your phrase.

Albert
Albert

They'll just not answer the door and there will be no Halloween.

Gotta think these things through.

Mike
Mike

Does everything have to be about politics?  It's pretty low to try to turn a happy children's event into political theater, using little children as your props.  Aren't there at least a few days out of the year when we turn off the politicians and columnists and their asinine ideas?  Halloween should be one of those days.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Unfortunately, Jim, this is a harebrained idea.  What you would get is a lot of public patronizing by the residents of those wealthy enclaves, followed by intense pressure on local pols to come up with some sort of 'Neimann Marcus Ordinance" to ban costumes that cost less than several hundred dollars in certain neighborhoods. (or something along those lines).I'm definitely not a liberal, and it causes me to chuckle every time I see a "We are the 99%" sign.  However, I am in the scary position of working for a meager living in a terribly streaky industry, and I do empathize with the OWS movement, to an extent.  I agree with another poster on here; the Occupiers need to get serious, organize, plan, exercise discipline, and dispel the myopic view that everyone HAS to support them 100% or they're part of the 1%.  They alienate a lot of potential supporters with their "us or them" attitude, and their selective criteria for what constitutes the 1%, 'evil' corporations, and, as I believe it was put on another post Teahadists (very tactically foolish to alienate a group that embraced the exact same ideals they embrace only several years earlier)

BigTex
BigTex

Oh choke on a bag of dicks Jim......frontburner call back!!!We live on Worth, two blocks off Swiss and we had spillover tooI dont get paid to write so I wont explain the phenomena but it made my wife happy. We had about 50 kids and ran out of candy and we had about 5 gallons of it...yea a huge amount, we give alot to each kid so to our neighbors that said last night that the kids never come to our block suck it

Sam
Sam

Wow, really? Give the "99%" your stuff or you might not be safe? That was just emberrasing to read, if you're actually a conservative plant trying to make the "99%" look bad, job well done.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

A great piece of street theater. But I'm not sure street theater is what's needed here, Jim. Contrast one protest movement with another: the Civil Rights movement that started in the late '50s with the counter-culture, counter-war movement that began in the mid-'60s.  Both causes were just. Which was successful?The anti-war movement offered the spectacle of the Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troop, love-ins, Kent State, sex, drugs and violence. The Civil Rights movement involved tough day-by-day planning, clear goals, logistics, disciplined behavior (for the most part) and people who would not be turned back by cops, dogs, or water-hoses.As a journalist, the second was more fun to cover. Great photos, lively copy. I know that would appeal to you. But the first did the job. So send the kids to Preston Hollow or wherever next Halloween. Meanwhile, OWS has to get its eyes on the prize. 

Phelps
Phelps

Careful.  You might humanize those 1% that you want to hate so much.

Mike3647
Mike3647

Jim, are you censoring comments like d-bag Tim over at D?  Why did this not show up?  I see it in my profile but not here.

The problem is that this is Obama and the politicians re-election strategy - class warfare - to put the blame on someone other than themselves.  And touchy-feeley liberals like Jim fall for it hook line and sinker.

Mike3647
Mike3647

The problem is that this is Obama and the politicians re-election strategy - class warfare - to put the blame on someone other than themselves.  And touchy-feeley liberals like Jim fall for it hook line and sinker.

jfpo
jfpo

Except that's not at all what he said. You have trouble with context, don't you? I bet a lot of jokes go over your head.

Politico
Politico

You people who think this is about wealth transfer are just foolish. Nobody is asking for wealthy people to hand over their money to the less fortunate. Its about leveling the playing field moving forward with no preferential treatment to the wealthy. Funny thing, most of the people that read and comment on the DO are in the 99% but just to stupid to know it, or just oppose this as, "those liberals" just another liberal ideal. 

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Jim can't, and didn't, delete the comment -- which, you'll see, is directly above the one you posted saying he deleted it.

Sam
Sam

Schutze making veiled threats and you calling the 99% stupid, you guys are really batting .1000 today

Phelps
Phelps

Meaning, what?  That we shouldn't think of "The One Percent" as people?

Because that is what would happen.  The so-called 99% are going to hate someone, because their world view demands class warfare.  There will always be an Emanuel Goldstein for them to rage against.  The real 99%, though, in the course of this, would realize two things.  First, they would learn that "The One Percent" are real people, who aren't evil, don't sit in lavish harems plotting the downfall of society.  Second, they would learn that no one went away from this little adventure empty handed, assuming that "The One Percent" had a heads up and people asked rather than taking.  Just like on Halloween every year.

That's the thing about this story.  People already do the Swiss Avenue thing in Highland Park.  The whole thought exercise is bullshit -- it's "imagining" what is already reality.  The effect on the 1% doesn't matter.  They are only 1% of the vote.  But I suspect that the effect on the 99% would be exactly the opposite of what Jim thinks, because most people on neither side are nasty or full of avarice, and are only at people's throats because of how agent provocateurs on either side try to set them against one another.

Monty
Monty

Agreed! He is an ass. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

In his defense, there was something wonky going on with the website.  It kept telling me earlier that the site has blocked me from posting any more comments, but only on this particular post.  Seems to have cleared up now.

Mike3647
Mike3647

Thanks Robert.  It wasn't there an hour after I posted it and I know for a fact that Tim Rogers deletes posts he doesn't like, but I knew Jim had more class than that!

Montemalone
Montemalone

The ever fearful wingnut crowd just KNOWS the world is out to get them.Especially the damned yankee libtards.

Jay
Jay

What was veiled about it?

Politico
Politico

You have to understand, people like Sam are paranoid. So everyone is out to get him and his Repubs. The 1% is losing their power and they have every right to be defensive to the extent of seeing things that don't exist. Last ditch effort!!! 

jfpo
jfpo

There were no "veiled threats" in Jim's piece. What the hell is wrong with everybody's reading comprehension skills today?

Montemalone
Montemalone

It's the neverending greed.OWS is about calling attention to the broken system.The rules don't apply to those making them.CEOs taking multi-million dollar pay packages to do nothing. Wall Street inventing things to collect fees and then pass the losses on to the people that paid them to invest their money.Companies raking in huge profits by firing workers and either moving the job overseas or making the remaining lucky guy with a job do two now.And then they hire repubs to claim that the answer to our problems is to eliminate cap gains taxes and cut income taxes to 9% because that's fair, and that'll free up some of the trillion dollars companies are hoarding and make them create jobs.And we're spending too much money on silly things like health care and education so we need to get rid of those programs, and oh by the way, let's ramp up military spending because there's still a couple countries we haven't crusaded into yet.I'm tired of seeing the revolving door of the connected guys in that small club go from one corner office to another, with stops in DC, creating havoc and lining their pockets along the way, saying that they know what's best for the country and we should all be thankful that they're bringing us cheap TVs from China.

JimS
JimS

And, uh, Muleskinner .. do you NOT believe that the Wall Street one percent has been gaming the system?

JimS
JimS

I guess you have a point. Or half a point. What we really have is a lot of lucky kids, born to great parents, sent to expensive private schools, who think they are the chosen, when in fact all they are really is a bunch of very lucky kids. By the time they get out of high school, they have so many advantages over poor kids that almost no poor kid -- even a kid with the same I.Q. and the same ambition -- can ever hope to close the gap. And, of course, the lucky kids end up doing what all lucky people do and decide thatb they virtuous geniuses who earned every inch of their privilege.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Or, to quote Gossamer, "PEOPLE!"

Mere Mukeskinner
Mere Mukeskinner

"meritocrats learned how to game the system..."

That phrase is logically impossible. One cannot be both a meritocrat and be gaming the system.

So what are you condemning? Individualists that succeed through exemplary contributions to the economy or corrupt individuals? I don't have a problem with the first, do you? I propose that the problem lies with the second getting in the way of the first. You, on the other hand, seem to be advocating a pure class warfare.

JimS
JimS

Here's what's wrong, Phelps. The aristocracy at its best had a healthy fear of the 99, giving rise to the principle of noblesse oblige. But sometimes you couldn't count on nobless oblige because the nobles were drunk too much, and they married their cousins, giving rise to hemophilia and idiocy. So we got democracy. Democracy has warped into meritocracy -- the ultimate celebration of individualism. But once the meritocrats learned how to game the system and take all the money, not just some of it, they decided they were members of a superior race. Aristocrats all over again. Only they are aristocrats without decency, compassion, modesty or fear. They are aristocratic fascists. Sadly, the only cure for that, socially, is torches in the streets, boots on the cobblestones, tumbrels and heads on pikes. A re-boot, in other words.

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