If you were to ask the protesters at the Occupy Wall Street movement, they represent 99 percent of Americans. But various reports and polls–not to mention their behavior–have said quite the opposite.
Opinion polls show that 39 percent of Americans identify with the movement while 35 percent oppose it. Meanwhile, a quick look around one of the hundreds of Occupy sites will show that the protesters are largely whiter and dirtier than a representative slice of America’s bottom 99 percent.
And by dirtier, I mean pooping in paper bags and police cars, sleeping under tarps in the rain and trying to use local restaurants and shops as bathrooms. The Occupy Wall Street movements have a lot of good points to make that become much more difficult to listen to when they are associated with the crazies.
The New York Times showed how the Occupy Wall Street crowd is trying to fix that perception by being more inclusive in a report that suggested that racial insensitivity is a strong presence in Zuccotti Park. So are people pooping on police cars.
In the article, occupiers suggest that minorities and the poor have either been too afraid or too busy to join the protests in large numbers, but will soon.
If it’s fear of police brutality that’s keeping minorities away from the protest, than the police are doing a good job at it.
If a veteran of the Iraq War can have his skull fractured by a flash grenade, then I’d say just about anyone is fair game. If young women can be systematically hit in the face with pepper spray, then there’s a good chance larger crowds will be less popular among police.
After the violence that’s taken place in Oakland, Denver and even New York, I’m a lot less likely to visit one of the protests.
The culture at the protests–the questionable sanitation, the all-night camp-outs and the alleged drug use–is also a turn off for much of the so-called 99 percent.
So is, for many Americans, the protest’s politics. They’re further to the left than even most Democrats are and their emphasis on fixing Wall Street and not the government aggravates conservatives who are mostly upset about the bailout and not Wall Street.
I’m not saying that Occupy Wall Street can ever earn the respect of 99 percent of the public, nor should they, but what they should do is seem a little more palatable and organized. And poop on fewer things.