If you watch Fox News or listen to conservative talk radio, you probably believe the Occupy Wall Street protest and the subsequent demonstrations springing up around the nation are nothing more than a collection of neo-hippies, drugged-out radicals, welfare leeches, and uneducated rabble intent on hijacking the government for their own socialist ideology. These disorganized radicals are at the same time undisciplined lawbreakers and highly trained agents of some secret Leftist cabal planted by Karl Marx himself. If you believe the far right, this is how totalitarianism begins.
Of course, two years ago, when Tea Party Activists were conducting similar protests, these same pontificators praised protesters as true patriots attempting to save the nation from the evils of government. Then, protests were our God-given right, guaranteed by the Constitution and paid for by the blood of the Revolution. It was the duty of concerned citizens to protest the injustices of Death Panels and government bailouts of irresponsible corporations.
I’m not physically there on Wall Street, so I can’t intelligently speak about the people who are protesting. I also can’t intelligently describe their methods or activities because I haven’t seen them firsthand. All I’ve seen are video clips and sound bytes from major news outlets, and we all know that the media can manipulate those to fit whatever suits their needs. What I do know and can speak about intelligently is that the vast majority of us “average” Americans are fed up with corporate greed and government bureaucracy. We’re sick of watching laws and regulations manipulated to favor the few and harm the many. We’re sick of feeling like the entire system is rigged against us.
The other day, I wrote about my hopes for the protests. Nearly every person I know, regardless of political affiliation, feels like our country is slipping away from us. Maybe, it’s already too far gone to save. Maybe, we can salvage our democratic republic and restore liberty to the masses. Only time will tell, but what is certain is that this current round of protests is fueled by an overwhelming sense of frustration we all feel.