Given all of the violence, the lawlessness, the bigotry and the ugliness the Occupy Wall Street movement (and its off-spring) represent, why hasn’t the president spoken out –in a clear, forceful voice – against it?
It can’t be because he thinks it’s none of his business. This is a man, after all, who injected his thoughts on the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates and in the process accused the Cambridge police of acting “stupidly.” Obama has spoken out about the location of the Ground Zero mosque and the 2016 Olympic Games; the reaction of Republican audiences at GOP debates; and the Penn State child rape scandal. He’s suggested that racism is a driving force in the Tea Party movement. He gives sermons on civility in public discourse. And he’s made his picks for the NCAA Final Four on ESPN. Obama talks all the time, on llmost every issue under the sun. And yet when it comes to the actions of protesters at the various Occupy movements around America, he suddenly goes practically mute.
To the degree Obama has spoken out about the Occupy movements in cities all across America, his words have been sympathetic ones. He has issued no forceful condemnations of the rapes, the arson, the drug dealing, the anti-Semitism, and all the other things that have marked, and marred, the Occupy protests.
It could be the president believes there’s a political interest in siding with OWS. But perhaps there’s something else, and something deeper, at play here. Perhaps the former community organizer and academic has found himself in deep, natural sympathy with OWS and its aims. Perhaps he sees in the protesters his younger self. Perhaps he sees in them his philosophy, unconstrained by political considerations. Perhaps its agenda is, in many important respects, his.
If that’s not the case, then what explains Obama’s unwillingness to condemn the disgraceful and disgusting things we’ve seen and heard? Why is a man who loves to comment on unfolding events decided to turn a blind eye to a (largely) lawless, and in some respects anarchistic, movement that his own words have helped inspire? I’m open to other possibilities. But for now, Occum’s Razor applies. The president is sympathetic to and supportive of OWS. We see in it what Obama sees in himself — and ominously what he hopes to soon see, on a large scale, in America.