From St. Louis Today: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/guest-commentary-we-are-not-occupying-america---/article_424b85cc-8b4a-5240-89e5-6213938dcec8.html
Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011
Americans generally are unused to images from the Occupy protests being domestic ones. Grandmothers and unarmed college students pepper-sprayed with alarming casualness. Reporters singled out and beaten. Veterans returning from war in Iraq only to be gravely injured trying to exercise the precious liberties for which they supposedly risked life and limb.
Perhaps, we hoped, that these things were only possible in clearly authoritarian regimes such as Syria, Burma and Iran, but they are now home-grown creations, sharing both technique and intention to keep people from peacefully assembling and asking for a redress of grievances, the most precious right enshrined by the Founding Fathers.
New revelations show complicit activity between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and local police forces to repress the Occupy protests, a collaboration that violates a host of regulations, laws and the very Constitution. Given the pattern of violence in the coordinated response to peaceful demonstrations, it is clear that those in elite positions of government are at the very least guilty of overreaction fueled by anxiety and confusion, or are at worst behind a conspiracy to repress the free speech of Americans asking for political reforms that are entirely reasonable within a functioning democracy. Once again, as it seems to happen so often these days, America's leadership fails.
The United States has been careening into catastrophe after crisis after scandal for more than a decade under the current crop of leaders in the public and private sector. From the frivolous Dot Com bubble to the financial scandals of the Enron era to a disastrous war of choice in Iraq to the creation of a global torture regime spanning from Virginia to Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to a housing bubble based on pure fraud ending in a trillion-dollar bailout to propping up a debt 'supercommittee" that couldn't agree on how to manage a bake sale. America's leaders seem chronically incapable of doing the right thing.