I am shocked by the response to the “Occupy” movements in cities all over the United States. “Occupy Miami” recently joined what seems to be a loosely connected fellowship, improvising a day-to-day agenda promoting negativity. The only unifying goal seems to be a hatred of America, work and soap.
Protestors come to a city. They pitch tents. They refuse to leave. They have relieved themselves on American flags and police cars. There are reports of rapes, theft and assaults. Anti-Semitic placards and diatribes have been seen and heard. And yet the group is treated with a strange deference, posing as heroes of free speech.
Contributions of food and money are sent to their camps. Astonishingly, they are treated by many as feisty freedom fighters. Our president speaks favorably about them.
Yes, our great country provides its citizens with freedom of expression. However, much of what is happening is not within the perimeters of legal activity. When defiance of police creates a standoff, the dissidents are shocked there is any repercussion. Their sense of entitlement is immense.
I am contrast my own experience as a Jewish activist with the seeming free reign of this group. The rallies and demonstrations that required a permit were very specific. The area we could occupy and the time we were allotted were spelled out. There was no leeway. We were aware that all other activities, including peaceful civil disobedience, would result in arrest.
The Tea Party is another example of an apparent double standard. It seems the movement has been saddled with a reputation that would be better put on the shoulders of a group that truly deserves it.
Not all protests are sincere attempts at justice. The “Occupiers” are not a righteous cause and their actions demean legitimate protest. America seems to have lost its common sense in an attempt at political correctness.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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