The 99 percent comes out to protest Romney in Seattle
Republican Mitt Romney has rarely faced a critical mass of protesters during his months-long campaign for the White House. But then, he doesn’t often visit the Left Coast. And protesters were out in force in Seattle on Thursday night when Romney held a fundraiser at a civic center in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle, attended by the local political establishment and well-heeled locals.
The complex holding the event also contained the upscale “Shops at the Bravern” mall. After the event fund-raisers could have slipped out to pick up a few items at Hermes, Louis Vuitton or Jimmy Choo.
About 100 protesters turned up for a spirited but peaceful demonstration with signs, props and inventive chants, including some of those who have participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement. A cardboard cutout of the candidate was on the scene, holding a sign that said “Of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent.” Various protesters were dressed as buildings to illustrate Romney’s “corporations are people” meme.
Among the chants were “hey you millionaire – pay your fair share,” and “Mitt says cut back – we say fight back!” Jeanette Wenzel of Seattle held a sign that said, “if money is speech, speech isn’t free.” Other signs said “Mitts off our future” and “Money Talks; Supreme Court says so.”
“He’s having a fundraiser for some of the richest people in the country. And if he was elected he would do their bidding,” Sandra VanderVen, 44, a community organizer from Seattle, said of Romney. “It would be by and for the one percent.”
“I’m here because I want publicly funded elections. I’m very concerned that money is buying politicians, which is buying laws, and shutting out the voice of regular people,” said Lisa Marcus, 50, of Seattle. “Corporations have to work for profit – they don’t care about people, health, the environment – anything.”
Innkeeper Annie Phillips, 73, of Burian, stood next to a large installment that urged “Get Money Out of Politics.” It was nothing personal against Romney specifically, she said, but against the pervasive influence of large donors and lobbyist funds throughout the political process. The same group had protested recently when President Barack Obama had a pricey fundraiser in Seattle, she said. “It’s been building for a long time – the campaign spending and the lobbying. We’re not the democracy we were supposed to be,” Philipps said.
Photo credits: Ros Krasny