Seek movements' meaning

I would like to respond to Robert Smock’s letter, “Occupy movement ruinous” (Nov. 19).


There are two largely mislabeled movements in contemporary American politics: Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. Mr. Smock inappropriately labels OWS as supporting Hugo Chavez, Karl Marx and Ali Khamenei. On the other side, many accuse the Tea Party of racism.

I highly doubt that OWS is defined by its support of a South American dictator, the original Marxist and the supreme leader of Iran, just as I highly doubt the Tea Party is led by a love for George Wallace and the old days of Jim Crow. Certainly, there are individuals in both movements who are involved for the wrong reasons, but letting them define the movements would anesthetize the importance of their messages.

And it seems strange to accuse a president of choosing sides in our political system. Elections are nearly always defined by personal values, whether it be William Jennings Bryan lambasting the wealthy in his “Cross of Gold” speech or Ronald Reagan railing against big government with quips such as, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Both the Tea Party and OWS are “politically motivated” movements attempting to bring productive dialogue to American households. Thanks to the Tea Party, we’re talking more about debt, entitlement programs and self-interested politicians. Thanks to OWS, we’re talking more about greed, class inequality and corporate corruption.

So rather than ignore a movement because of some misbehaved people, why not read about the true meaning? I think Mr. Smock would be pleasantly surprised at some of the more poignant, innocuous messages of OWS.

Timothy Van Vliet



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