The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations appeared to start out as an “old-fashioned” use of the First Amendment to express frustration and anger.
Exactly what they are frustrated and angry about … is a matter of debate.
Some are angry at Wall Street excesses, and the lack of criminal punishment for what led to the 2008 economic meltdown and the current recession.
The fact that nobody went to jail for those crimes is quite troubling, and needs to be addressed by law enforcement and Congress. But it is not a license to condemn our entire private enterprise system, which has created a standard of living our great-grandparents could never have dreamed of.
Unfortunately, as it is played out, Occupy Wall Street has degenerated into a protest of everything leftists and socialists can imagine.
(It’s worth pointing out that wealth and privilege are not unique to bankers. Supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement include well-known billionaires and rich, spoiled and pampered Hollywood celebrities, whose lifestyles make most Wall Street workers, and many executives, look like coal miners by comparison.)
What’s worse is that the disturbing images of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators relieving themselves on the American flag and on police cars undermines the message they are attempting to send — whatever that message is.
Most say that their outrage and anger is the result of disappointment in the man they elected president three years ago. President Obama and his abject failures have disillusioned them, and these protests are their only way of expressing it. That he raised so much of his 2008 campaign’s funds from Wall Street executives only adds insult to their injury.
The sad thing is that many astute people believe it is the guiding hand of Obama’s advisers that are behind the leadership of these protesters. So for the second time in their young lives, they are being used by Obama’s presidential campaign.
Craig Eaton is chairman of the Kings County Republican Party.