Frank Foer at The New Republic raises some hard-headed questions about the Occupy Wall Street protests. I share his concerns about the practical political effects of the protests. All it takes is one moral idiot wearing a Che Guevara tee-shirt and an Obama button to make a devastating attack ad. (And, yes, if you wear a Che Guevara tee-shirt, you are a moral idiot.)
There is a Romanticism about much of the commentary regarding these protests. I am suspicious of Romanticism per se. It is fine, even uplifting, to listen to five minutes of Wagner, but if you listen to five hours, you are going to think about invading Poland.
The comparisons between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protests should give every one pause. My objections to the Tea Party have to do with more than their politics. A rant is a dull weapon in the arsenal of democracy, no matter who is doing the ranting. Yes, I applaud the fact that Americans are now focused, in a way they were not previously, on the issue of income disparity. But, I would like to see more in the way of serious, practical politics than I have seen in lower Manhattan.
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