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Ad Hominem Attacks on Occupy Wall Street Group

Media and others are finding fault with protestors to deflect from their message.

October 27, 2011
Netra Halperin - Netra’s News Host • Kihei , The Maui Weekly

Most of the people with whom I've spoken are excited about Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and its prospects for expanding the political conversation and creating real hope and change for America. Most agree that it is about time Wall Street and Washington, D.C.'s corruption be exposed and corrected and that instead of "one dollar, one vote," "one person, one vote," becomes the norm.

However, I've been reading national and local criticism of protester's clothing and hair styles, of their playful attitude and creative communication solutions (such as creating a human microphone because they aren't allowed bullhorns), and of basically the disarray that happens when a bunch of people live in a park.

I've also heard criticism of protestors owning iPads (which are produced by Apple Corporation), while at the same time protesting the inordinate lobbying power of large corporations. Does that mean that a judge prosecuting a bank for falsifying mortgage documents must withdraw his money from that bank and refinance his mortgage? That would be ridiculous.

I've heard lots of criticism about the individuals protesting, yet I haven't heard one single argument against the message of OWS. No one has countered, "Wall Street has behaved impeccably and is an important contributor to our flourishing economy."

Criticizing an individual to deflect from their message is called an ad hominem attack. It does nothing to further the discussion.

I've also heard criticism that the protesters haven't given one central demand. Though their Website does list specific suggestions, including reforming the Federal Reserve (a private bank), reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act (which separates retail banking from speculation) and campaign finance reform.

As for why OWS hasn't mobilized around concrete specific demands, I believe it is because this movement is becoming far too big for simply one or a list of demands. The vast majority of people in this country are suffering and are highly dissatisfied with the status quo.

Most media outlets in America are owned and controlled by a handful of corporations that understandably skew the message for their own benefit. So the first step to creating change is to foster a genuine political discussion-one that includes all voices.

My suggestion is to put aside the superficial manner of the protests and instead look at the message: Are we satisfied with the job currently being done by Wall Street bankers, or should we the people, through a new ethic, occupy Wall Street?



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