I will be the first to admit that the OWS protestors have a point, at least as far as I can tell. Americans of all colors and political orientations are disgusted with crony capitalism, with the fact that taxpayer money, through government bailouts, found its way into generous bonuses for wealthy executives. I also count myself among the many Americans who are distressed by stark income inequalities, although I realize that these numbers are more complicated than statistics alone reveal. So if I thought the OWS protestors were really utilizing the Civil Rights Movement’s tactics to remedy corrupt government-business relationship and the wealth gap, I’d be wishing them the best of luck.
But that is not what I see at all in the OWS movement. The spirit of anarchy concerns me the most and an unbridled sense of entitlement. As the weeks have worn on, the protestors’ disregard for the law and the wellbeing of those their activities affect has become obvious. Associated Press and ABC News reports tell of rapes at the encampments, including a fourteen-year-old at OWS Dallas. The number of arrests for drunkenness, public urination and defecation and lewd behavior are too many to recount here. Protestors fought with police in Zuccotti Park for hours before finally being forced to evacuate and on their way out threatened school children as young as four. They left behind acres of trash and the stench of human waste.
Now let’s think back to the 1963 March on Washington which gathered 250,000 protestors—an almost unprecedented number for the time. They marched down Constitution and Independence avenues beginning at 11:00 AM and concluded the day by listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The I Have a Dream speech ended at 4:20 PM, ten minutes ahead of schedule. The protestors were completely peaceful and orderly, and no police intervention was necessary.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.