As the nationwide Rage-fest gets underway tomorrow to mark the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its devolution into a lice-infested, criminal-attracting, craptacular Molotov cocktail party, where, oh where, are the civility police? The speech monitors? The White House?
Just a few weeks ago, the president’s staff rushed to the side of the Occupiers.
Now? Not so much. I noted tonight at the end of my segment on the Hannity show that silence = complicity.
Maxine Waters shrugs at dead bodies and rapes and child molesters infesting the Occupier camps: “[T]hat’s life and it happens.”
Spin from Occupier apologists: All those troublesome violent agitators are just “infiltrators.”
Comment from White House flacks? Bueller? Bueller?
Here’s some lowdown on the “#N17″ festivities. Banks will be targeted again. NYC thugs will aim to shut down Wall Street for real. D.C. hoodlums plan to shut down traffic. Other Occupiers will shut down bridges.
How sympathetic describe the planned chaos: “a combination of envelope-pushing direct actions and mass demonstrations.”
If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.
The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives – to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.
I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.
That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.
I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.