In general, I support Occupy Wall Street and the satellite movements it has inspired. I am concerned by the amount of vitriol the protests have inspired among a certain sector of the population. I would expect most Americans to be outraged at the fact that the Fed lends money to the banks for free, essentially, and then those same banks, the authors of our current woes, either won’t lend it to us at all, or lend it at usurious rates (Let us not forget that the current bankruptcy law was written by the credit card lobby, and was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by George Bush, Jr. ) I think that most parents are upset that their children will live in a world of diminishing rather than rising expectations. I think that the country should be not just upset, but apoplectic that we are sending young people out into the world with crippling debt.
I have been down to Occupy Boston, and have even stayed there overnight with my kids. I wanted them to see what a protest was like. I wanted to teach them that we are guaranteed free assembly by the Constitution.
My son was bit apprehensive at first. “We’ll get hurt or killed, ” he said.
“No we won’t,” I said laughingly. “Why do you think so?”
“Because I saw on TV what happened in Egypt,” he replied
“This is the United States. Here we have a guaranteed right to assemble, if we are acting peaceably.”
My son had a fun night staying at Occupy. My daughter, I think, would have preferred that we go home and sleep in our beds. The weather was nice, there were fewer homeless than there are now, and there was a child-friendly drum circle. We explained to him why people were staying in tents. As for me, I had a lot of discussions, with sorts from Ron Paul libertarians, to capitalists who think that the current system is too unfair, to communists who think that capitalism will necessarily make an unfair system.
A few weeks later, the Occupy Oakland protest was attacked rather heavy-handedly by the police, and a Iraq war veteran received a serious blow to the head from a tear gas canister fired by the police. My son was watching the TV
“I told you it was going to happen,” he said, without a trace of smugness or pride.