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Lita Smith-Mines

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Occupying the Hamptons

Posted: 10/17/11 03:57 PM ET

The protesters gathered in one of the toniest areas of Long Island, within steps of luxury yachts and swanky stores. Among us were babies, great-grandparents, those who came of age protesting the Vietnam War, and more than a few raised on Nickelodeon.

Some of us brought signs. Others brought our dogs. A few were merely curious, but most were angry. Mad at the big banks, livid at elected representatives, fuming over the failure to pass the jobs bill, and irate at how few citizens actually vote. There was some teeth-gnashing about how the T'OPers have no problem marshalling government forces to derail a woman's reproductive freedom, but think that regulating clean air is overstepping government bounds. A call rang out to transfer funds from the bailed-out banks and into not-for-profit credit unions, and another to "toss the bums out!"

I was slightly wary of a gathering protesting greed and government, as it is rarely more than a hop, skip or jump before someone blames "the lawyers." But no one did. Moreover, no one accused the inhabitants of the posh zip code we were occupying as being the root of all America's woes. Which was another relief, as it seemed as if the locals turned out in equal numbers to those of us who had driven over an hour to stand beside them.

Most of the people gathered on a tiny patch of grass by Sag Harbor's Long Wharf wouldn't fit any of the uncomplimentary labels sneeringly thrown our way. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I'm no "slacker." I work extremely hard at two businesses struggling for solvency in a marketplace that has seen much better days.

I wasn't there on October 15 because I had "nothing better to do." I was there because I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than join with my neighbors to remind the powers-that-be that the population of Long Island is too big to fail!

 

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