Posted on: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I don't blog much about issues as heavy as some that I experienced this weekend when the NATO Summit came to Chicago. As someone who has never seen the sense in violence, I felt it a bit natural to bike downtown on Saturday and Sunday to check out what was going on with the protesting.
I didn't create this blog to spout off political opinions or to say who's right and who's wrong regarding issues I feel deeply about. But, at the end of the day, this is a lifestyle blog — and my lifestyle can be a bit broad.
What I experienced on Sunday was nothing like I had ever read or witnessed. It wasn't the protestors. It was the police presence. There was an atmosphere of impending violence. There were CPD officers shoving us along the entire route. There were cops in riot gear attempting to intimidate at every turn.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking of it all happened after I returned home. Someone had mentioned on Instagram that they saw me on the news (in passing, I assume) and I tried to find an online stream from the network that they noted. I haven't watched the "news" in a long while and was genuinely concerned over what I was watching in the broadcast. While aware of how corrupt the large news organizations are, I was shocked at how much of what they were saying was fabricated.
So rather than keep quite about the events, I think maybe it's important to make mention of something that I hold very dear to me — social media and independent news organizations. The most accurate reporting I got over the weekend came from Twitter, Instagram, and independent journalists' LiveSteam pages. Technology is a grand thing when we use it correctly, right?
Searching the #NATO tag on Tumblr will turn up a mix of posts — everything from police brutality to kids from the suburbs complaining about "hippies" who "need jobs."
To those complaining I say this: don't watch the news. Turn on your computer and please, I implore you, to find other resources.
There was something unfamiliar and ominous about the officers this weekend and it was too difficult to trust in the "system."
Stay safe, Chicago! I love ya!