So it was in Richmond’s downtown Kanawha Plaza, where a small band of Occupy Richmond, an offshoot of the national protest movement, had been camping since Oct. 15. This little group was protesting abuse of democracy and financial power not far from the capital city’s tall office buildings with their banks and law firms and lobbyist offices.
Mayor Dwight Jones ventured out to the makeshift camp to chat with the protestors and invite them to continue a conversation. Members of the state’s conservative movement, notably the Tea Party, were quick to complain. They got airtime on Fox News and blogger attention on sites such as this one by arguing that the lefties in the city (read African Americans) were coddling the Occupy people while the Tea Party had been charged $10,000 for a rally. They sent the city a bill for a refund.
Things were not as they seemed. The city struck in the wee morning hours of Halloween. The tipoff vanguard was a number of dump trucks that parked near the encampment. Then city police, augmented by Virginia State Police, appeared, some on horseback.
The protesters were given a chance to leave or face charges of trespassing and being in a park after hours. Some left. Others didn’t. The phalanx marched. Nine protesters were arrested. The camp areas were power-washed.
So will Fox now make sure its millions of viewers aren’t left with the impression that Richmond is soft on lefties? Where’s the update from my fellow blogger Norm Leahy? His right-wing audience is probably still nodding in agreement about how the Establishment is two-faced about handling political parties.
But then so is Mayor Jones, who ends up as the villain of this tale. If anyone is two-faced, it is he.