MISSOULA, Mont. – As compared to New York City, we are a sleepy little town of about 60,000 people. Saturday morning not much happens here. Our farmers market at Caras Park is where we meet Oct. 8.
I cross the bridge over the Clark Fork River and see about 20 people gathered near the Fish. Within the next 15 minutes, we swell to 400 or 500 people and children.
Union people hug the young professionals and the small business people. Democrats wave to Republicans. Baby boomers hug students. Anarchists hug everyone. We are so happy so many of us showed up to support Occupy Wall Street, creating Occupy Missoula. The downside is we are all sick and tired of taking it. We have lost our jobs, our self-respect, our patience. We have worked so hard and we still lost our retirement and our homes. This is our chance to speak out, even though we were taught to follow the rules, and not make trouble.
After we rant and rave, we decide on a course of action by consensus. We march down Higgins Avenue to the Missoula County Courthouse, chanting slogans – “the people united will never be defeated” – waving multiple signs “- Tax the Rich Feed the Poor” and “Peace is the Only Answer” or “Bail Out Students not the Banks.” Some of us just had to march in the streets to catch the attention of our sleepy little town.
Thirty of us got tents and sleeping bags to spend the night on the courthouse lawn. By morning a hundred people had joined us, and people kept coming with tents, blankets and food.
Did anyone doubt that our cause was righteous? We all watched as an eagle slowly circled o’er us – and knew it was.
Photo: Occupy Missoula general assembly, via the group’s Facebook page.