Wednesday, June 6, 2012

#1 in people Occupyin'

As you know, when I was about 6 years old, I invented a game called Holiday Inn conquering - in which I went through all the Holiday Inns in the hotel chain's official directory and pretended I was "conquering" each one using urban warfare. Holiday Inns in those days were easier for America's working families to afford, and that's what piqued my interest in this chain.

That game was merely fiction. But I didn't know until last night just how good it feels to "conquer" a Holiday Inn in real life!

My Occupy Cincinnati pals discovered that a conservative publishing house was sponsoring a visit to the region by David Irving, an Englishman known as one of the world's most infamous Holocaust deniers. One of the main themes of Irving's visit was his claim that Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler wasn't such a bad guy.

The Occupy coalition was just itching to protest Irving's appearance. After all, Wall Street bankrolled Hitler - so there's clearly a connection between the 1% and Irving's extremism. (It's also worth noting that Hitler probably had the world's first so-called "right-to-work" law.) But Irving's babysitters didn't publicize the exact site of the event, because they knew we'd protest it. Nonetheless, we were able to figure out that it was at the Eastgate Holiday Inn.

So Occupy organized a carpool to protest at that hotel. There were about 20 of us. When we pulled into the inn's parking lot, we noticed several cars with Tea Party bumper stickers. The assumption was that they were David Irving's supporters. We decided to file into the hotel carrying our protest signs and confront the event.

We outnumbered Irving's followers, as he only drew about 10 supporters. They gathered in a meeting room at the hotel. And they were absolutely stunned to see us coming down the hall with our signs! Holiday Inn once used the slogan, "The best surprise is no surprise." Well, David Irving sure got a surprise, and he probably thinks the best surprise would have been no surprise!

We mic-checked Irving, and he immediately got on his cell phone to call the fuzz. As we heckled the dour neo-Nazi, the manager of the hotel showed up and said that if we didn't leave, he'd call the police too. So we upped the ante by marching through the inn's huge atrium with our signs, in full view of numerous travelers.

Cops were already waiting for us when we got outside. In all, no fewer than 9 police cruisers would arrive. Police directed us to vacate Holiday Inn's property, but when we moved up the roadway, a manager at the nearby O'Charley's restaurant stomped towards us and began yelling at us. He too threatened to call the cops - who were already on the scene.

I didn't see it firsthand, but it turned out that 2 of the attendees of Irving's speech assaulted one of the Occupy folks by grabbing a sign from him and shredding it. This is just the latest in a long series of right-wing assaults against us.

We were forced to move our rally to a main highway. When we were there, we got countless thumbs-up from motorists passing by!

The reaction to us by the Eastgate Holiday Inn speaks volumes. That particular Holiday Inn can choose to keep us off their land, but why didn't they do the same to David Irving? Surely, they have a right to not let him hold a meeting on hotel property - so why do they let him use their property, but they won't let us use it? Why do they favor a Holocaust denier over us? If Kemmons Wilson was alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.

Why did the O'Charley's up the road go ballistic on us? We weren't even in the restaurant, and it's doubtful we were even on restaurant property. Why did that eatery go after us but not the Nazis who were meeting nearby?

And why did Eastgate Mall chase us out of the vicinity altogether? That's a matter that merits further discussion.

The 1% is powerful, but their pushback against us only hurt them, as we were chased to where we received a wider audience.

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