|Occupy DC demonstrators erect a huge blue tarp labeled 'Tent of Dreams' over the McPherson Statue, in defiance of a U.S. Park Police order to enforce no camping rules after noon today.|
Yesterday the U.S. Park Police, who have authority over the park, warned demonstrators of a noon deadline today when they would begin enforcing a no camping ban. At about 11:45 a.m., in front of a swarm of media and hundreds of curious onlookers, some of the protestors climbed the statue of Major General James Birdseye McPherson and hung a big blue tarp called “Tent of Dreams.” Then the Occupiers entered the tarp and began chanting and singing and listening to music.
While many downtown office workers looked down from the roofs of their buildings in anticipation of seeing a showdown, it never materialized as the noon deadline passed. There were only a scattering of uniformed police officers manning the corners of the park. So the afternoon instead turned into somewhat of a final hurrah for a phase of a movement that has inspired so many people around the world.
Even for those who dismiss the Occupy movement with harsh words aimed at the lack of organization and singular message, or even criticizing the “aging hippies” and “entitled white kids” that are involved, as many Tea Party trolls angrily comment on news websites, they cannot deny the power that Occupy has had. Income inequality has become a part of the national consciousness and populist rage aimed at money in politics is now being discussed by the mainstream media and politicians. Even President Obama's State of the Union recently took a page from the Occupy movement by addressing the growing gap between the wealthiest 1% and the majority of Americans and calling for economic fairness.
Tomorrow the tents may be gone and the jails may be full, but Occupy has already won because they have put political and economic justice front and center. And until our economic and political systems start benefiting the 99% instead of just the 1%, then the Occupy message will continue to resonate regardless of whether or not people are physically occupying a public space.
Here is video of the "Tent of Dreams" tarp being hoisted over the McPherson Statue.
And here is video of the scene on Occupy DC's last day at McPherson Square.
Here are more pictures from an eventful day in downtown Washington.