It’s strange. The longer the Occupy movement goes on, the more we hear about police brutality, use of excessive force, and other acts of violence perpetuated, not by the protesters themselves, but by the various authority figures of the cities where these protests are being held. What’s worse is that it seems like almost no one in government is standing up for these people, affirming their right to peaceful protest, or disciplining the various police forces who are clearly overstepping their bounds.
Regardless of what the OWS movement is actually about and regardless of what your personal opinion of the movement is, it’s become rather clear that the OWS movement is making a definitive point, and that point is a wee bit unsettling. What has become evident is that the various government entities in the US, whether it be at the city, state, or federal levels, don’t actually value and protect a citizen’s right to free speech nearly as much as they claim to. It’s interesting to me that what the OWS movement has succeeded in doing, more than anything at this point, is drawing out corruption in certain authoritative bodies and driving the rest to silence.
As a spectator it’s frustrating to watch because I’d like to believe that we live in a country where people have the right to gather peacefully and protest, whether or not you agree with the cause. It’s disheartening to see those rights being trampled almost every day and to realize that the only people standing up for civil rights seem to be bloggers and protest groups in other countries. It feels a little bit like the US has taken a step backwards these last few weeks — or maybe it’s really just that I’m discovering we aren’t really as progressive and enlightened as I thought.
I don’t know if the Occupy movement will ever accomplish its original purpose of weeding out corruption and greed in corporate America, but I do hope that, if nothing else, it wakes people up to the fact that many of our government officials are just as corrupt and tyrannical. Hopefully, people are paying attention, and with any luck, the Occupy movement will accomplish some good on more than one front.