Washington, November 18, 2011 — Join columnists Catherine Poe and Eric Golub in their column He Said, She Said as they debate Occupy Wall Street.
He Said, She Said:
Question: what should be done with the OWS protesters?
As irritating or disruptive as some may find the Occupiers, they are the conscience of America, like it or not. Their very physical presence is a reminder that the decline of America happened not because they didn’t believe in the American dream, but because the greed of Wall Street and the banks stole that dream.
Yet our government continues to reward the top 1% with corporate welfare and the lowest taxes in more than 50 years. And Congress, which made that largesse to the wealthy possible, is in the pockets of those very same people and their lobbyists.
Yes, the protesters are predominately young, unemployed, maybe even scruffy, and, yes, the homeless have found a haven and free meals with them, and, yes, the Occupiers’ persistence after more than two months is like a mote in our eye, reminding us all that we can no longer do business as usual.
The fact that OWS sites have sprung up across the country and now the world has prompted us to face ourselves. We can no longer ignore the joblessness and poverty that scars our great country. It is not an abstract concept, some numbers on a bean counters’ balance sheet. It’s real. It’s people. It’s your kids and mine. It’s returning vets who find themselves on the scrap heap of our economy.
Whether it’s Zuccotti Park or Oakland or Atlanta or Lima, or Brussels or Hong Kong or Tel Aviv or Rome, their demands are the same:
* Create jobs
* Reform the tax structure
* Eliminate corporate influence on politics
As Bill Moyers so wisely said, “It’s clear they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied the country.”
So as hard they try, whether it’s New York Mayor Bloomberg or Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, government cannot squelch a movement whose time has come. Whether officials evacuate a park peacefully or move in like a SWAT team, the people return.
Like all great protest movements over the course of America’s history, OWS moves like water, flowing around impediments and spreading across the land, unstoppable.
Eric: The protesters are the scourge of humanity. Not only should the police remove the protesters, but they should do so with as much force as humanly possible. The OWS protesters are not a political movement. They are a lynch mob, and threaten the very fabric of American society.
Peaceful assemble has been a part of the American tradition, whether it be Dr. Martin Luther King and his followers singing “We shall overcome” or today’s Tea Party attendees singing “God bless America.” Dr. King was fighting for civil rights. The Tea Party is about restoring fiscal sanity. Both movements were larger than those marching. The goal was to strengthen America for future generations and to preserve the American dream.
OWS is dedicated to destroying the American way of life. In the several weeks since Barack Obama tacitly encouraged people to target “Wall Street,” protesters have destroyed property, spread disease, engaged in sexual assaults, and ruined local small businesses.
The true definition of freedom is the right to do whatever one wants provided that it does not restrict anybody else’s freedom. OWS is a direct threat to the livelihood of everybody within a multi-mile radius of their carnage.
While there are individual members attending OWS rallies who do not condone violence, their silence in the face of wanton destruction is acquiescence. The bad apples are not the exception. They are the OWS rule.
Americans are entitled to life and liberty. Law enforcement is obligated to protect those rights. That means keeping all Americans safe from foreign and domestic terrorists. Some terrorists fly planes into towers. Others throw Molotov cocktails through buildings, sexually assault women, and use the threat of further violence to seize land and claim it as their own.
The police must immediately restore order, and the only way to do that with a violent mob is to counter force with equal or greater force. The only solution to the OWS movement is a law and order crackdown. That way the real other 99%…the silent majority…can walk down their streets again in peace.
Cat: Oh, Eric, please. A violent mob? Hardly. What you’re repeating are Right Wing talking points meant to inflame a public that basically supports what OWS stands for.
If anything OWS is too passive, reminding me more of Woodstock or a love-in from the Sixties.
I wish they would march on Washington. The only way politicians pay attention is when people take to the streets in the thousands or jam the corridors of Congress. That’s what we did in the protests against the Vietnam War. That’s what women did in the Seventies when we marched for equal rights. We were also painted with every slur there was, none of them pretty and all untrue. I know. I was there.
To be honest, there have been a few unsavory characters, but any mass demonstration attracts the fringe. Remember the folks at the Tea Party rallies packing heat or carrying signs of Obama with a Hitler moustache?
What’s been amazing is how placid and peaceful OWS was until the Oakland police moved in like Bull Connor. Even in New York, where the police swept into Zuccotti Park like a SWAT team, there was very little resistance. Now it’s not even clear if OWS will return to reclaim the park.
You’re making the same mistake Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan made, assuming that overwhelming force was required and allowing the police to run amuck, firing tear gas canisters and wounding an Iraq veteran. Such tactics are the equivalent of going after mosquitoes with a baseball bat and about as effective.
Eric: The OWS protesters are not the conscience of America, unless America was founded by anarchists, far leftists, and others who despise capitalism. It is that very anti-capitalist viewpoint that allowed Barney Frank and Chris Dodd to force firms to engage in politically correct lending. That is what led to the sub-prime mess that caused the 2008 financial crash.
If the OWS protesters truly cared about Wall Street greed, they would protest outside the home of Jon Corzine. They would demand that Barack Obama refuse Wall Street money. They would demand Nancy Pelosi return her profits from her Visa trade that were acquired through an unfair competitive advantage. OWS is just a collection of leftist thugs trying to take by force what others on the right earn by hard work.
I agree that jobs should be created and the tax structure should be reformed. Unfortunately Barack Obama’s solution is to raise taxes on job creators and harass through excessive regulation those trying to create jobs. Look at Boeing in South Carolina or the Canada pipeline project. If Mr. Obama would slash taxes and get out of the way, a job boom would happen just as it did with Newt Gingrich (with Bill Clinton as symbolic figurehead), George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and even JFK.
OWS is a perfect metaphor for the Obama administration because they demand better living conditions while creating miserable living conditions for everyone around them. They do this by attacking the few people capable of actually making things better. They are lawlessness personified, and it is time to restore law and order.
He Said, She Said is a collaborative effort at dialogue between politically liberal/women’s rights advocate Catherine Poe and politically conservative/Roman Empire loving hedonist Eric Golub. The entire point of these columns is to show that people of divergent viewpoints can discuss politics amicably. Commenters are expected to follow the example set by the writers. Any personal attacks on either writer will be flagged as abusive and removed.
- Gloria Jetter, of Brooklyn, holds a sign expressing her views at the Occupy Wall Street Encampment at Zuccotti Park Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- Sean McCauley, of, Sewell, N.J. holds a sign expressing his views at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- An Occupy Wall Street protestor draws contact from a police officer near Zuccotti Park after being ordered to leave the longtime encampment in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
- Will Portal, of Suffolk County, Long Island, holds up a sign expressing his views at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- An Occupy Wall Street protester holds up a sign at a police barricade near the encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York, early Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- Jorge Luis Javier, left, and James Duarte, both from the Bronx, stand at a police line making peace sign gestures at the Occupy Wall Street Encampment at Zuccotti Park Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- Marie Farina, of Queens, holds a sign expressing her views about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- An Occupy Wall Street protestor draws contact from a police officer near Zuccotti Park after being ordered to leave the longtime encampment in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in New York, after police ordered demonstrators to leave their encampment in Zuccotti Park. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
- Occupy Wall Street protestors wave copies of a court order that legally allows the demonstrators to enter Zuccotti Park at police as they are penned on a sidewalk beside their former camp, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
- A woman, center, stops to read the signs expressing Jon Hochschartner, left, of Lake Placid, N.Y., and Michael Pellagatti, of Jersey City, N.J. views at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
- A message for the President (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Arm them with soap (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Hell? Central Casting? We need a skateboarding, cyber-revolutionary, STAT! (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Wiping down the bug bites (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Squatting drifters settle in for the long haul (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Casually reading The Onion. Satire becomes life. (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Coiffed occupier waits, but for what? (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Someone should tell her that Bloomberg outlawed smoking in public parks (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Shuffling about half naked. Completely comfortable in their surroundings. (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Blue is cool. And... (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Firm encampment twenty-two days into the occupation (Image by Urban Infidel)
- She's going to need that other flip flop when it starts snowing this winter (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Ran away from home to join the circus (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Ease up on the eyeshadow there (Image by Urban Infidel)
- A vigilante for justice (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Fermenting hills of garbage (Image by Urban Infidel)
- The Weed Table, Zucotti Square (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Pink is the new red (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Occupation button factory furiously at work (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Natural habitat? (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Horror movie come to life (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Bradley might feel a bit deflated after this (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Now there's an offer no woman could refuse (Image by Urban Infidel)
- The outfit is nothing without the bag (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Moonbat thought process in action (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Reverend Billy Talen, one-time New York mayoral candidate preaches 'Change-a-luiah!' and 'Earth-a-luiah!' (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Disturbed looking rager listens to summet first Day of Rage (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Budding terroristas in their squeaky clean jihad costumes (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Brought his own cutlery, necklace and blackboard lunchbox. Note 'modeled' is misspelled (Image by Urban Infidel)
- The revolution will be impeccably fashionable (Image by Urban Infidel)
- Anti-capitalist slave to digital technology (Image by Urban Infidel)
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