It’s unclear to me how a strategy of harassment wins converts to the cause, but that’s the route Occupy Wall Street chose to take today. Commuters wealthy, middle-class and poor all alike suffered a complete severance of subway service to and from Wall Street in the early morning rush hour; worse-than-normal barricade and police presence; the terrifying sight of helicopters hovering menacingly at strategic points across the island; “papers-please” checkpoints across the Financial District; and, generally, a crush of confrontational protestors, signs in hand, oblivious to the lives of those around them. My close friend and neighbor — an exceptionally talented playwright who also tutors high school students — said it best:
Today a high school student had to cancel his lesson because you were throwing up barricades and he didn’t feel safe. I have put up with 2 months of barricades, mounted police, horse poop, and security check points. Release my neighborhood – the 99% live here too.
Occupy Wall Street’s message, when they can be coerced into stating one, is vitally important to this country’s future, and it’s a cause that deserves better than to be dragged through the mud (and horse poop) by standard-bearers who apparently value inconvenience and disrespect for authority as ends in themselves; not as undesirable side-effects of some forms of nonviolent protest. New York city, and her people, are allies to be lost, not enemies to be fought. I pray OWS remembers that before the end.