The more conservative elements of our city have succeeded in their efforts to obtain the forceful removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park.
Unfortunately, what those conservative forces fail to realize is that the Occupy Wall Street protesters symbolize an undercurrent of frustration in the United States about the ever-increasing alienation of wealth by the top 1 percent of income-earning individuals and corporations.
True, there have been some individuals pretending to be protesters who have taken advantage of the situation to violate city ordinances, challenge the police and commit violent acts.
But the overwhelming majority of OWS protesters are average Americans making a serious statement that change needs to occur.
Those who have criticized or condemned OWS are making a mistake in failing to recognize the growing rift in this country. Ignoring OWS also ignores the underlying causes that have created a growing divide between the super-rich and everybody else.
I believe the protesters should be allowed to criticize the economic inequalities and political inaction that has virtually eliminated the middle class and created disastrous financial difficulties for working families and the poor, whose numbers increase on a daily basis.
As an elected official, I am the first to recognize that the work of enhancing the quality of life and opportunities for Americans is an ongoing process. Public input, even if it comes in the form of dissent, is necessary because it leads to political action.
As long as the OWS movement remains peaceful and vocal, its message and concerns about inequality have a chance of being addressed for the betterment of all.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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