WASHINGTON — The media have gone to great lengths to convince us that Occupy Wall Street protesters are just like the rest of us. One columnist, for example, tells us they’ve “struck ... a nerve” with the American people. But the only thing Occupy Wall Street has struck is America’s gag reflex. The movement is decidedly outside the mainstream.
Challenge Occupy Wall Street protesters to some Jeff Foxworthy-style tests and see for yourself.
You might not be the 99 percent if, for example, you defecate in places other than toilets. One New York Occupy Wall Street protester was caught on camera using a police car as a Porta-John while police have repeatedly been forced to issue warnings against public urination and defecation to protesters in Los Angeles.
Or you might not be the 99 percent, if you take time off your job to protest that you have no job. One of the principal demands of Occupy Wall Street protesters has been for jobs. Yet, according to former Bill Clinton pollster Doug Shoen, 85 percent of the Occupy protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park are currently employed.
And you probably aren’t among the 99 percent, if you blame Republicans alone for enriching Wall Street, banks and powerful corporations at the expense of everyone else. Both parties have done so and most Americans understand that. Even so, Democrats appear to be more culpable in recent years than Republicans.
Fifty-four percent of House Republicans voted against final passage of the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) legislation in 2008, while just 27 percent of Democrats voted against it. The following January, all but two Republicans in the House and all but six in the Senate voted to block $350 billion in TARP spending. That effort failed thanks to the nearly unified, pro-TARP opposition of Democrats.
Republicans also voted en masse against the $787 billion stimulus package that’s provided billions of dollars to such “start up” companies as General Electric. Not a single Republican House member and only three Republican senators voted for the legislation.
Nor might you be in the 99 percent, if you believe civil disobedience and violence are legitimate forms of political expression. According to pollster Shoen, 98 percent of those participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York believe civil disobedience is an appropriate means of achieving their objectives and an astounding 31 percent support the use of violence.
You might not be the 99 percent, if you can’t tell the difference between exposing people to your views and exposing yourself. Occupy Seattle protester Jesse Drugge was charged with five counts of indecent exposure and three counts of second-degree child molestation after exposing himself to and engaging in lewd acts in front of children.
Occupy Wall Street in Madison, Wis., was reportedly denied renewal of its demonstration permit due to public ... um, let’s call it “self-gratification.” And reports of public sex at the New York protest have been rampant.
And you undoubtedly are not in the 99 percent, if you blame minorities for the nation’s problems. At the Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park, one man carried a sign reading “Zionists Control Wall Street.” At a similar rally in Los Angeles, Occupier Patricia McAllister told Reason TV, “The Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve need to be run out of this country.”
And the New York Post reports that the American Nazi Party recently broke with its “rule against standing beside Communists” urging its members in the “pro-white” movement to join the Occupy Wall Streeters’ fight against the common enemy: “Judeo-capitalist banksters.”
In fact, unless you’re a sex-mad, anti-social, anti-Semitic exhibitionist with an appreciation for law-breaking, Occupy Wall Street is unlikely to be your cup of tea.
• Ridenour is president of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.