Friday, October 7, 2011

Solutions will not be found on the Right or the Left

The Occupy Wall Street protest appears to be growing in strength and spreading from its original home in Lower Manhattan. The movement apparently is appealing to those who are concerned about current economic problems and alienated by the Tea Party movement of the radical, religious Right.

Personally, I am not sold on the Occupy Wall Street movement. I understand the motivation that has brought so many out to protest. And I do share their concern over greed and corruption and the improper influence of the corporate world in our politics.

However, I would not change many of the things the group finds objectionable, including executive bonuses, corporate "personhood," and the forced repayment of student loans. In fact, I don't want to see the banking and investment systems of my country changed in any significant way, other than to compel them to adhere to the letter of the law.

I, perhaps a bit like Herman Cain (the GOP Presidential candidate who has drawn a lot of heat for criticizing Occupy Wall Street as "unAmerican"), find it difficult not to question the objectives of those who seek dramatic change to those systems. I certainly would stop short of calling the protestors "unAmerican" - I'm not sure that any free thought that occurs to an American can ever be "unAmerican." But I recognize that the free market is the core of the American system and has contributed to our national success story. I am not willing to discard it in a time of temporary trouble.

I agree with my friends on the Left that the Tea Party movement has been a force for harm on the Right. I believe that is undeniable - an irrational focus on government spending at a time of serious economic woe has only extended our problems and caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering. But we should not attempt to counter that by introducing a force for harm on the Left.

The solution must be to oppose irrational radicalism in all its forms with reason and a sincere desire to improve the lives of ALL our fellow citizens.

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