I usually don’t write about general political issues, such as the Occupy movement. This blog is primarily concentrated on fiscal policy and economic freedom. However, I made an exception earlier this fall to illustrate the absurdity of the movement, and I am making another exception today. Last night in Denver, the Occupy movement showed its true colors by disrespecting and trying to stop a memorial ceremony for deceased homeless. From the Denver Post:
A traditionally solemn annual memorial for people who died on Denver’s streets was disrupted by a loud Occupy Denver group Tuesday night. After days of urging protesters to remove shanties from the Broadway sidewalk along Civic Center park, across the street from the site of Tuesday’s candlelight vigil, police in riot gear removed the shelters Monday night. Four people were arrested, including two on arson charges, alleging they set the shanties and other items ablaze as police approached. Tuesday night, protesters shouted “fascist,” “criminal” and other slurs as Mayor Michael Hancock stepped forward to address the 22nd annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil on the steps of the City and County Building. For about three minutes, the mayor pleaded with them to show civility to the families present and respect for the 136 men and women whose names were to be called, homeless people who died in the past year. The vigil’s organizers say the memorial is often the only public recognition those men and women’s deaths ever receive.
I would very much like to know what president Obama and other high-ranking Democrat politicians think of this, especially as the president has expressed support for the Occupy movement.
What is so amazing about the events in Denver last night is that the Occupy movement turned on the weakest among us in an attempt to somehow maintain their own relevance. This put on full display the hypocrisy that has been embedded in the movement from the start. They have purported to be protesting injustices in our society and our economy. The message – to the extent they have been able to produce a coherent message – has been that they are the voice of the little guy against Big Daddy Capitalism. Last night in downtown Denver this movement suddenly got in the way of a tribute to some of the smallest among us: homeless who have died out in the street. Instead of stepping aside and joining the memorial ceremony, the Occupiers were entirely focused on themselves. Instead of putting the homeless before themselves, they put themselves before the homeless.
The pathetic moral standards of the Occupiers was put on full display by one of their agitators:
Others in the audience shouted back at the protesters with such replies as “show some respect” and “grow up.” After a few minutes, Hancock surrendered the podium to allow the vigil to go on. “This mayor evicted homeless people to die last night,” said a woman who refused to give her name but was prominent in shouting at police during Monday night’s clash with protesters. “He does not deserve to be heard or respected.”
So now, all of a sudden, the Occupy camp is a homeless shelter. Well, if that is what they were really out to provide, then they would have gone the traditional route: started a charitable organization, raised money, bought or leased a building, put in long, hard hours of work to make it happen – and then put in more long, hard hours of work to keep the shelter running.
The Occupiers have not done that, which goes to show that their moral preferences are not altruistic, not socially constructive. They are entirely self-centered. Those of the Occupiers who were not arrested and who joined the memorial provided ample evidence of their own self-centeredness by putting outright childish behavior on full display:
As the names of those who had died were called, many, if not all, of Occupy Denver’s members refused to say, “We will remember,” as the rest of the crowd did to honor the individual. “It’s disgraceful,” said Cynthia Ingram, who had traveled from Buffalo, N.Y., for the event to honor a cousin on the list. “This isn’t about their political agenda; it’s about our family, some sympathy and showing just a little bit of respect for the dead. I am so angry right now.” Ingram said she had previously agreed with the Occupy mission on corporate greed but did not respect the outbursts at the memorial. “Totally classless,” she said.
Are these the moral heralds of the Democrat party? Is this the new, young, invigorating political movement that is going to shape the future of liberalism in America?
Wealthy Americans, who have been targeted by the Occupy movement as being greedy and self-centered, provide enormous resources for others than themselves. They pay the bulk of federal taxes, they are big contributors to state and local governments through sales, property and income taxes, and through charitable donations they help build schools, fund research and arts, and care for the poor and needy.
With this kind of behavior the Occupy movement is slowly reducing itself from disturbance to annoyance to irrelevance. As they do, they should ask themselves what their moral legacy actually is. In the months of public unrest staged by this movement, what productive contribution to America did the Occupy movement actually make?