“We’re trying to bring it (power) back to the people, where it belongs, instead of corporations, where it does not,” said Faith Wicks of Powell at midday Saturday.
“Our government is broken, that’s the main problem,” said Margaret Whited of Wapiti, criticizing corporations’ influence in processes like writing legislation.
“What’s wrong with millionaires paying taxes?” asked Rex Sanders of Powell.
Around 12:30 p.m., Whited and Sanders were among about a dozen protestors who braved the morning snow and cold at Washington Park for two hours.
The Occupiers stood along Second Street, flashing posters, thumbs ups and peace signs at passing motorists — and cheering when they received a honk or wave in return. A few drivers shot dirty looks or yelled things, while many ignored the gathering, but those present said the overall response had been unexpectedly positive.
In the same way that the Tea Party movement has generally drawn conservative Republicans, the Occupy movement has generally found favor with liberal Democrats, though both are nonpartisan.
Speaking on KODI’s Speak Your Piece program last month from New York City, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, Harrison Schultz, said the movement has benefited from a lack of specific goals.
“It’s about whatever the participants want it to be about. I mean, it’s open-ended, deliberately open-ended, and I think the reason this movement has been growing is precisely because there’s no single frame ... that would exclude anybody,” Schultz said, adding later, “Everyone’s viewpoints, everyone’s individual agendas are welcome, just so long as no one excludes a different viewpoint.”
True to that wide-ranging premise, there were many causes being lobbied at Washington Park on Saturday.
Frannie Mayor Jack Cordner held a sign encouraging state officials to provide federal block grants to small communities like his without requiring any local match. Cordner said Frannie and its 157 residents couldn’t afford a $40,000 match the state had required on a grant to renovate a building.
Other causes referenced by the Occupiers included: maintaining “green” energy subsidies as long as subsidies to traditional energy industries stay intact; passing President Barack Obama’s jobs bill; supporting education as a right; requiring businesses such as oil companies to act responsibly; punishing banks that have “stolen” money from the American people; higher taxes for the wealthy; closing tax loopholes for big corporations; and reducing corporate influence.
“People really need to become aware of what’s going on, not just listen to soundbites,” said Mimi Renaud, who helped organize the Powell event. “Look it up.”