Occupy Nashville Welcomes Young GOP Counter Protest

Photo by Jim DeMain

Photo by Jim DeMain

The first counter-protest to the Occupy Nashville movement began Thursday night with a few dueling chants, but ended in the two sides striking up respectful, one-on-one conversations about the politics of the economy.

About a dozen and a half members of the Vanderbilt College Republicans marched up the sidewalk beside legislative plaza, some carrying signs that “I am not the 1%”, and “Fight Obama, Occupy the White House.”

Neither group quite knew what to expect. The College Republicans looked a bit nervous as they confronted the crowd of more than 100 at the Occupy Nashville assembly. Quickly one of the chants from the students Republicans became a rallying cry for all…

(Chanting) “We are the debt generation. We are the debt generation…..”

Then for more than half an hour, the two sides mingled one-on-one …Occupiers talking about the influence of money in politics, Young Republicans questioning what they see as a demand for more government handouts like extending unemployment benefits and dismissing college debt.

Young Republican Julia Klein is a sophomore History major.

“Has anyone’s mind perhaps been changed by this? I mean, I don’t think so. I think we’re pretty firm in what we can here to do. I think their pretty firm in their beliefs, both respectful of course. But I think we’re just gonna have to agree to disagree about this.”

Despite a couple of handmade signs calling the Young Republicans “trust fund babies,” Occupy Nashville members welcomed the good-natured dialogue. As the students walked away, many Occupiers acknowledged, “They too, are part of the 99 percent.”

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