If a rival country tried to block our ports, it would be considered an act of war. Yesterday an equivalent act was attempted, right here in America, by people who claim to be on our side: the Occupy Wall Street crowd:
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters blocked access to several major West Coast ports Monday in synchronized demonstrations that slowed business but fell short of what some protesters hoped would be a complete shutdown of coastal shipping.
The protests stretched from San Diego to Anchorage, brought work to a standstill in Oakland and Longview, Wash., and led to the closure of a major marine terminal in Portland, Ore. Demonstrators caused smaller disruptions in Seattle and in Long Beach, where a driving rain and threats of arrest put a damper on an early morning picket line.
The protests definitely hurt those among the so-called 99%, such as port workers and truckers:
Demonstrators claim that withholding labor sends a strong message to the 1% and is a meaningful way for the movement to telegraph its power and potential. A number of truckers who lost their day’s wages, however, expressed anger that the decision was made without them.
Meanwhile, protests continue to harm small businesses, and put a burden on taxpayers, as police are continually called out in force and paid overtime to deal with their illegal actions. No skin off the nose of Occupiers: as a general rule, they’re not businessmen or taxpayers.
Which made me reflect. Maybe the divide isn’t really between the “99%” and the “1%.” Maybe the divide is between those contributing to society, and those who aren’t.
If I wanted to be divisive and tendentious, I guess I could suggest that the country is really divided into the 53% and the 47%. 53% who pay federal income tax, and 47% who don’t.
Or the 51% and the 49%. 51% who receive no government benefits (the “givers”) and 49% who do (the “takers”).
But I don’t really want to engage in divisive political rhetoric. Mostly I just want to tell these people to stop trying to drag the economy down. Maybe try contributing something. Maybe try . . .
. . . getting a job.
I know that’s very difficult under the economy of Barack Obama. But sitting around trying to ruin our economy by blocking ports doesn’t help.