As a longtime Oakland resident, I’ve come to accept the fact that when the Town is in the news, it’s rarely because something good happened. Right now we are getting national play because our police force got, um, a little heavy-handed with some “Occupy” protesters at City Hall. Here is America’s most trusted news source, Jon Stewart, describing what happened:
I can’t help but feel a little responsible, even though I was out of town when all this went down. This is not the first time I’ve found myself in the vicinity of violent law enforcement tactics: I was also living in Philadelphia in 1985 when Mayor Wilson Goode ordered the bombing of the headquarters of black nationalist group MOVE — a brilliant idea which, says The Wikipedia, “caused the house to catch fire, and ignited a massive blaze which eventually consumed almost 4 city blocks, killed 11 people, and left 240 people homeless.” To my knowledge, this remains the only time an American mayor has bombed the civilian population of his own city. (True Philadelphia fact: Goode was actually re-elected after this happened! God, how I love and do not miss that town.)
Anyway, back to the present: Last night I watched continuing coverage of the protests on the sacred box, and caught an image that seemed to symbolize the American mood of the moment: one group of protesters trying to tear down a fence while another tried to put it back up. It was like a giant snake where the tail had no idea what the head was doing. But the snake was pissed, you can be sure of that.