Not Everyone is Backing OWS

Michael Goodwin, columnist at the New York Post, has a predictably different spin in a story he wrote about the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Till now, I have been supportive of young people expressing their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the country, so long as demonstrations are nonviolent and other people’s rights are not trod upon. Goodwin, who is a conservative writer, has a strong negative bias against OWS and President Barack Obama's and others' endorsements of the movement. I am starting to have my own misgivings about the point of all the demonstrations and the protesters’ endgame. So far, the campsite in New York has been a place for young people to socialize and express their unhappiness with America and a plethora of issues; yet, not one issue or problem has been resolved or been taken under advisement by our government. At some point, the group may become more bellicose and push the authorities to react in kind, or they will quietly depart and leave a big mess for the sanitation people after having accomplished nothing.

Interestingly, several anti-democratic world leaders and governments have expressed support for OWS including Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s chief mullah, the government of communist China, and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Additionally, “the American Nazi Party favors the lusty attacks on the ‘Judeo-capitalistic bankers’ while the Socialist Party USA and the Communist Party USA are … on the anti-Wall Street bandwagon.” The protesters and their anarchistic expressions enthrall those in the world who despise American ideals. They are hopeful that our democracy and our way of life will be damaged.

And most importantly, Obama has supported the movement, saying “protesters reflect a ‘broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.’” This statement is a continuation of the president’s demonization of bankers, who, along with a long list of other culpable people and organizations, were responsible for the economic downturn. Goodwin indicated that the “people sleeping in Zuccotti Park are not here to help [the president] create middle class jobs or save the one’s that exist.”

Goodwin further states: “Plain and simple, the movement is about destroying capitalism, which most protesters see as the enemy. They don’t want to fix the financial system. They want to bring it down.” In the interest of bringing some balance to Goodwin’s comments, it is more likely that “some” of the protesters feel this way, not all of them. Many others are focusing on less esoteric issues such as college tuitions and stagnant government.

According to the story, Obama is catering to the OWS mobs to garner votes in 2012, as is Mitt Romney, who “foolishly gave credence to the protesters’ distorted vision that American society consists of a few haves oppressing a multitude of have-nots, with nothing in the middle.” Romney was quoted as saying, “I don’t worry about the top 1% . . . They’re doing just fine by themselves. I worry about the 99% in America.” Unfortunately, some presidential candidates feel obligated to “walk on eggshells” and give more credence to the protesters than they deserve. This is not to say OWS does not have some legitimate gripes with what is going on in America today. But, so far the ability and/or interest in making productive changes have not materialized.

Goodwin goes on to say that about 75% of Americans are unhappy about the economic crisis, but the protesters do not represent this group. They have their own agendas.

And finally, Goodwin reported that New York City has 3.7 million jobs, and these 500 or so protesters are “holding the city hostage with their Woodstock tent city.” It has been reported elsewhere that local residents have been complaining more vociferously as the sanitation, noise, and discourtesy of the crowd worsens on a daily basis. I agree that New York City is being held hostage in a way. The city government is giving the protesters great leeway to avoid a confrontation, which may in fact be what OWS wants, to gain the sympathy of the American public. The worst thing that can happen in the campsite or at a demonstration is for either the protesters or the police to become violent.

There are always two sides to every story. OWS is leaderless, unorganized, and unfocused, and yet, it is a microcosm of the public discontent in America today. Many liberals are lauding the efforts of this glorified sit-in without considering the damage it may cause them politically. During the protests of the 1960s, the “silent majority” was dissatisfied with an extended war in Southeast Asia and many other social issues. Nevertheless, many of these Americans did not appreciate the efforts of the young radicals who ultimately altered the course of history. In fact, quite a few of the silent majority were threatened by these “rebel-rousers” and endorsed their prosecution. OWS is not going to be a productive protest unless the group becomes more than an annoyance and extra expense for New Yorkers.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Sal Bommarito

I spend most of my time writing a screenplay based on three of my published novels.

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