More protestors, more pepper spray, more national coverage. The Occupy Wall Street Movement has been underway for months now, and the demonstrations are attracting increasingly more violence from police. At the UC Davis campus this weekend, students and faculty are up in arms over the unwarranted use of pepper spray on peacefully seated students exercising their First Amendment right. “Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history,” stated Mark G. Yoduf, the UC system president. For video and the full article, check out this link http://tinyurl.com/6nw6v8m.
Plus, shortly after the UC Davis story aired on Nightly News, footage from yesterday’s Republican Roundtable was aired; Newt Gingrich, when asked about the Occupiers, stated they should “go get a job, after they take a bath.” It seems to me that his generation, my parents’ generation, has conveniently forgotten about their time as protestors against the Vietnam War. Does Kent State ring any bells? Plus, I have seen the Woodstock movie—if anyone needed a hose-down, that crowd sure did.
I am outraged when I see authorities, like the police force at UC Davis, abuse protestors who are guilty of nothing more than taking a stand against a system they believe to be unjust. As President Yoduf said in the Los Angeles Times, college campuses have long been the site for educational discourse and demonstrations. If the protestors at UC Davis were throwing rocks at the police or flipping over buses, then I would agree with the pepper spray. However, from the video, the students were simply sitting on a sidewalk quietly and peacefully. Students have the right to demonstrate on college campuses as long as it does not violate the rights of others—that is one tenet of higher education that should never be violated.
Furthermore, if Gingrich thinks people are unemployed, because they just have not looked hard enough, then he needs to reevaluate reality. Gingrich secretly made investments in Freddie Mac even though he lambasted President Obama for doing the same. So, my point being, for someone who has no clue how badly the American people are suffering from the economic crisis and has hypocritically crawled into bed with one of the reasons we are in this mess, he sure is quick to judge young people fighting back. It may be easy for him to shower-up and become employed, but for the rest of us, who are not morally corrupt politicians, it is a little harder.
Once again, our leaders are ignoring the real issues: our graduates need jobs and our economy needs a boost. But, not by politicians in the back pockets of lobbyists or by Presidential nominees born with a silver spoon up their ass. Dear Mr. Gingrich, stop focusing on the protestors’ hygiene and start concentrating on the concerns they are addressing.