One day last week, I loaded the kids into the car and decided to go Occupy Los Angeles. It was hot in Culver City—92 degrees when we left—and even hotter downtown; my car’s thermometer read 99 at City Hall. Inspired by the burgeoning movement, I wasn’t about to let the heat discourage me. But a lack of parking downtown was another matter. So the kids and I drove around the block five or six times, looking out the windows at the tents and the people. We listened to the Star Wars soundtrack and I did my best to explain joblessness and economic injustice. Then we drove home.
This week, on a beautiful and cool day, Ashton and I bought snacks at and headed to for a picnic. Though I lacked the fortitude to repeat our trek downtown, my mind was still on Occupy Wall Street. A decent crowd of moms, dads, nannies and kids filled the park and it occurred to me that—were we to hang a sign on the picnic shelter—we could easily call ourselves Occupy Culver City.
Occupy Wall Street is a movement that addresses the common struggles facing most Americans these days and yet the media repeats the mantra: “They lack clear demands.” Despite this, many of us could easily tell you what “the people” want. We want to give our children good educations. We want to buy homes without being at the mercy of corrupt lending institutions. We want to know that we can make a decent living, working jobs with some degree of security. And we want affordable healthcare.
If you earn $383,000 a year, you can consider yourself among the 1 percent of Americans that control 40 percent of the assets. Occupy Wall Street is said to be about the other 99 percent. While there are both kinds of families in Culver City, we are all ultimately vulnerable. In this day and age, anyone can lose their job, their investments or their health and find themselves part of a growing underclass.
I can say with confidence, I am no organizer. I am an observer, a writer and a speaker. But I have always done my best to support those who are inspired to step up and lead others for the greater good—into protest, into celebration, into action. So, if anyone would like to "Occupy Wall Street" right here in Culver City, you can be sure I’ll bring my picnic blanket, my kids and a sign.