The Occupy Wall Street movement came to Las Vegas. Watching the march down Las Vegas Boulevard one couldn’t help but feel that the marchers did not really have their game face on. Certainly there were some cheap placards – generally hand written on torn cardboard expressing concern at the banks, the rich and politicians generally – with the notable exception of Abraham Lincoln whose words were often quoted on the placards. More than once I saw signs that said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time”. Of course, Lincoln also said, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong” but those words didn’t appear to get used.
The march was peaceful and generally quiet. No megaphones and only sporadic, unorganized chanting. No particular mode of dress and a broad distribution of ages from Baby Boomers to Generation Y who looked like they’d rather be known as Generation Why Not. The more frightening individuals were those who marched with a more purposeful air and hidden faces. Generally a scarf or raised t-shirt was used to maintain anonymity although a few were wearing plastic masks which made them look like extras in a cheap Hollywood schlock horror movie.
As with everyone else striding along the Strip, it’s not an easy walk. Footpaths disappear from the side of the road when the infrastructure developers consider it to be a more useful community service to direct pedestrians toward the entrance of a casino. So right outside the Planet Hollywood casino, the trail of marchers seemed to disappear as the sidewalk turned back in on itself and shifted the moving mass inward to the casino entrance.
And the occasional renegade was walking on the other side of the road, perhaps in order to hear the mellifluous, recorded tones of Olivia Newton-John asking if they had never been mellow only for her voice to disappear when the theme from the Pink Panther introduced the dancing fountains outside Bellagio.
One couldn’t help thinking that the Occupy movement in Las Vegas had the same integrity and credibility as the rest of this town with its fake Venetian canals, a mock Eiffel Tower and other artificial enhancements on two legs. It’s hard to take seriously the important issue which is the Occupy Wall Street movement and transplant it to the city which had just hosted the World Congress on Female and Male Cosmetic Genital Surgery.