Political Edition: Election Day/Occupy Knoxville Update

Unofficial Occupy Knoxville Spokesperson after rain and few days passed

Today is an important day in our city’s life: We elect a new mayor to guide us through the next phase in our evolution. Please, please for the sake of the Urban Nation, VOTE. Given that it is an important political day, it seemed a good time to give an update on the most conspicuous political movement in recent weeks: The Occupy Knoxville/Occupy Wall Street movement.

Soggy Occupation Wear

For the first few days after the big rally last month the group maintained a round-the-clock presence in Krutch Park for a while, trying to organize continuous shifts. After a few days it was mostly maintained by a few people who didn’t look quite as enthusiastic. Now, it seems, the group has given up on that effort and our “occupation” is more like sporadic forays into the city.

Mid October Gathering in Krutch Park


Speaking Out for Teachers

 They have managed to stage a couple of rallies and/or marches that I’ve bumped into, though there may have been others. The message is becoming a bit more specific, it seems with the complaint being chiefly economic and centered on the inclination of our current laws and government to assist the concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest among us. In that way, it is becoming more of a clear liberal alternative to the Tea Party, though the two seem to intersect at points.

Occupy Knoxville March in Market Square, October 29, 2011

A variety of messages do seem to continue to blend, as the signs about teachers indicates. Again, as it is the Republican legislature which has focused so negatively on teachers in the last session, this message would also seem to be from a liberal or progressive position. I know I’m hoping that the legislature has something better to do with their time the next session than to attack teachers. But maybe that is the most important task they’ve identified.

Occupy Knoxville March, October 29, 2011

Occupy Knoxville March, Market Square, October 29, 2011

The march pictured here is from October 29. There were possibly thirty or so marchers. Nationally the movement seems to have some staying power, so it will be interesting to see how things evolve. It’s pretty funny to imagine having a cadre of elected officials who would be as obsequious toward a liberal group as some of the current ones are to the Tea Party. It might also be fun to host a giant Occupy Knoxville Tea Party downtown. Who knows? If everyone could stop shouting long enough we might have honest conversations and find common ground! Probably not.

So, today is election day. This is the day you can let your vote express your vision of who we might become. My endorsement hasn’t changed: I hope Madeline Rogero is our next mayor and I voted for her early. My opinion has grown stronger over the last few weeks as I’ve watched the campaign. Mike Padgett’s use of video including Morelock Music in the background when Matt has made his support of Rogero open information, riled more than a few downtowners.

But even if you feel Mr. Padgett is the right person, please vote. If you don’t vote, then don’t complain. It’s easy, painless and people have died for your right to do it. Honor them.

I’ll leave you with an “Alternative Election Message” by a British fellow who you will find amusing (as I do) or irritating. He focuses on Great Britain’s particular mess, but ours isn’t that different and the final message is one that applies to us just as well.