Paul Jacob

Despite tenets to their protest to which I cannot subscribe — and despite the loathsome term “occupy” — I’m glad these people are protesting. I like protests. They are active, rather than passive. As Frederick Douglas once said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” Time permitting, I plan to attend and to talk with my fellow countrymen (and woman) about our governance. Sure, some Saul Alinsky-wannabes will be there, as will some people whose policy prescriptions are poles apart from my own.

But I’m not afraid of honest disagreement. We must not permit the partisans to unnecessarily divide us. I’m convinced many if not most of those participating are allies in the fight to restore a republic with basic liberties, constitutionally protected, as well as democratic checks on government power.

They are friends and not enemies.

Friends, perhaps in part, as the enemy of your enemy can be your friend. But also friends to the degree that they can be persuaded to recognize that the problem is systemic, and not solvable by either Republicans or Democrats gaining a more powerful majority grip on power. Indeed, that has been proven time and again.

Honest, thoughtful citizens on the left as well as the right have an abundance of reasons to be disgusted by the Obama Administration, and by Democrats in Congress, just as they were by the former Bush Administration, and Republicans in Congress. The time has come for us to work together, everywhere we can find common ground, to restore a legitimate political process — one that allows the people to decide, and makes government listen.

To the gnashing of special interests’ teeth.

In a recent interview for The American Conservative, Ralph Nader spoke in exceedingly positive terms about Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties,” the legendary consumer advocate argued. “They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights. That’s a foundational convergence. It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.”

Nader is on to something.

It might be amusing to sit like has-been celebrities on American Idol and judge the Occupy Wall Street (and various other cities’) protests — just as Tea Party efforts were snarkingly sneered at. But these days the stakes are simply too high and the prospects too frightening for such petty amusements. We need all the allies we can muster to help us restore a government of the people.

No, I don’t want to “occupy” Wall Street. Or any other American city.

But I do want to work with every willing American to end the occupation of our constitutional, democratic republic by a political class filled with mucky-mucks from Wall Street, and other boulevards, who wallow in bailouts and special privileges bestowed upon them by the power-obsessed politicians on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.