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Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day ‘Occupation’

An occupation which accomplished something — as it does every year.

by
Tom Blumer

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November 28, 2011 - 12:48 am
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Thanksgiving morning, before the Occupy movement’s promised attempt to disrupt Black Friday at certain retailers, a different group with their own style of “occupying” convened in downtown Cincinnati.

These “occupiers” had quite ambitious goals. Their intent was to “occupy” not only Cincinnati, but also Newport and Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio River, ultimately surrounding a six-mile perimeter. This “occupation,” in the sense of legally taking up space as opposed to how the Occupy Wall Street crowd and its offshoots have chosen to “occupy” — namely by seizing control of property which isn’t theirs and daring authorities to do something about it — is known to locals as Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day Race.

A nearly non-stop tradition since 1908, the Thanksgiving Day Race’s “occupation” is so superior in so many ways to the pathetic crowd which calls itself “Occupy Cincinnati,” it’s hard to know where to start.

Since early October, after the previous month’s poorly populated Day of Rage in New York and several other cities “somehow” grew into what became the nationwide Occupy movement, Occupy Cincinnati’s ragtag bunch of rank amateurs has been attempting to … well, I’m not sure anyone has a good idea of what they’re doing or what they want. Despite their minuscule numbers, reporters at the Cincinnati Enquirer have filed dozens of stories – perhaps over 100 — since the habitually illegal operation began.

Over 50 days in, this tiny group of babbling grievance-mongers obsessed with their own self-importance and the enabling local press continue to believe that an “occupation” should be considered noteworthy if it places a barely noticeable number of people inside a downtown park so small you can almost spit across its width with the wind at your back. In mid-November, they could only convene a paltry 200 people for a pep talk from supposed civil-rights star Jesse Jackson, who insults the memory of his mentor the Reverend Martin Luther King on a nearly daily basis. Duly “inspired,” only fifteen of them had sufficient courage of their convictions to stay after midnight to get arrested for after-hours criminal trespassing.

All those involved in Occupy Cincinnati absolutely have to do is show up and hang around. By contrast, it takes a great deal of effort to pull off a large-scale “occupation” like the Thanksgiving Day Race. As one would expect, its planning begins many months in advance. Almost every movement supporter in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area is aware of the annual event; many activists (i.e., runners and walkers) typically invite out-of-town friends and relatives to participate.

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