Watching the Occupy Tampa demonstrators is a little like watching the kids across the main lawn of Curtis Hixon Park who toil endlessly in the sand box in the front window of the Children’s Museum.
The kids dig, and move around, squishing in the sand with their little shovels and spoons and pails, trying to rearrange small and great mounds of sand into recognizable shapes or forms, then watch the shapes and forms crumble back into the sand , not grasping the fact that sand cannot hold it’s shape for long without toppling , they just keep at it, hour after hour, believing against all evidence to the contrary that this time, darn it, that little castle will hold!
And too, the Occupy Tampa demonstrators toil endlessly -their numbers are small so extra hours are necessary – to rearrange the small or great mounds of information they have tossed into the air and onto the air waves and into print, into recognizable shapes and forms which will ignite into the national and international media and tell the world that, here, here in Tampa, they take a stand, they take the park, they take the thoroughfares and the buildings and the people and Occupy All of it!!
While Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in hundreds of cities in nearly a hundred countries are regularly bashed, beaten, arrested in numbers, sprayed, and forced by cadres of policemen to evacuate areas they hold, if only for awhile, the demonstrators in Occupy Tampa must do with arguing with the local police about, oh, how many pizza boxes can be stacked in one place and for how long; how close the edge of a sleeping bag can be to the edge of the sidewalk; how many pairs of shoes can be lined up under a palm tree, etc. etc. etc.
Endless rounds of bickering., and haggling, like kids digging and spooning and shoveling, and shaping mounds of sand into recognizable shapes and forms.
To be sure, there have been some arrests, most of them for breaking the city ordinance which forbids anybody to sleep in city parks overnight. And there is a warning first, an arrest comes only the second time.
And the police have tossed away a lot of left over food and some personal belongings, always to the accompaniment of cries of “Harrasment,” “Bullies,” and words that should not be used in any context except for where it really happened…”Gestapo,” “Nazi.”
All in all, it has been a tepid affair, this Occupy Tampa thing which, after two long months has begun to simply annoy a lot of the people who live in the area, and/or who pass by daily on the way to their jobs.
Now, the leaders of the General Assembly of the Occupy Tampa Movement – yeah, that General Assembly, the ones who meet every night at 6PM over there by the third palm tree to plan their direct actions – well, they have drafted a resolution and sent it on over to Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s office, asking the Mayor and all of the City Council to attend their next meeting by the palm trees so that a negotiation can be started in order to draft a proposal in order to issue a statement wbout just when the Occupy Tampa can be expected to vacate the Curtis Hixon Park.
Seems the Mayor, and many citizens and the police believe this Occupy Thing has gone on long enough, time to clear out the pizza boxes and sandals and guitars and bongo drums and sleeping bags and find another place to Occupy.
This reporter asked one of the organizing members of the General Assembly who meet under the palm trees every night iat 6PM, if it was true that the Occupy Tampa movement demonstrators had agreed already to move to a smaller, less visible park, way on the other side of town, and that they would be leaving Curtis Hixon Park.
The organizing member of the General Assembly, like the kid who watches his sand formed castle tumble into nothinglness over there at the sand box, thought a moment, then said, “No, we’re not leaving…we’re expanding.”
Dreams die hard when you’re trying to form great mounds of information into recognizable shapes and forms to ignite into the national and international media.