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You might have not heard of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests. I wouldn’t fault you if you haven’t. The media has primarily chosen to ignore the growing protests in lower Manhattan. The police have not ignored the protesters, however. Using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators seems to be par for the course in America.
Let’s focus on the mainstream media first. The coverage of the protests on Wall Street has been rather sparse. A quick mention here and there. When any media outlet dives into the occupation in more detail, they inevitably use words such as “unorganized” or “eccentric” about the protests and the people occupying Wall Street.
They point out that the protests is leader-less, (I guess that is a bad thing) and made up of some rag tag weirdos. The mainstream media, forced to cover the growing movement in Egypt earlier this year, used the same terms to describe that demonstration as well. The media clearly does not like citizens using the same rights that pundits hide behind whenever something they say is deemed inappropriate.
Freedom of speech is not just for those on television. The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are beginning their second week of protests, camping out in Lower Manhattan. Although the protests have generally been peaceful, the police have not responded as such. Over the weekend, over 80 people were arrested by police. Often, these protesters were doing nothing illegal.
A police officer decided to pepper spray the protesters on Saturday. Think about that for a moment. A police officer sprays a group of protesters while walking by for no reason at all. The video of the incident has been slowed down in super slow motion; there was no reason for the excessive force. Other videos of the weekend are just as shocking.
Protesters are tackled to the ground for using a video camera. An unarmed woman is grabbed over the police barricade by an officer. There was nothing about this protests that seemed American. And I, like others, have wondered why we no longer protest much in this country. Clearly, I have found my answer.
We are no better than other countries despite our desperate beliefs. We execute people. We arrest protesters. We allow the rich to get away with murder while asking more of the middle class. The government controls the media and the corporations control the government.
If we saw these same scenarios in other countries, we would puff out our chests and state how “proud we are to be American.” Yet, in our own backyard, we ignore the injustices. Although the protests in Manhattan are encouraging, they will be silenced. Millions of people protested the Invasion into Iraq but that movement was silenced as well.
I guess the revolution will be televised, or at least broadcast on Youtube. The media may ignore the growing outrage, but with social media—we may be heard anyway.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/