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Get Clean for Gene, ya dirty hippies

Reader Park Hyun, who is a liberal, writes from the NYC Occupy Wall Street protest:

I took a morning off work and went down to check out the scene. I’m not a fan of protests generally, but I’m even less a fan of Wall Street, and so tried to keep an open mind.

I was angry and depressed with what I saw. Hippies, drum circles, anarchist chic, and wild-eyed village liberals hung around waving cardboard signs about how they can’t get jobs. It was enough to make me forget how bad the job market really is.

Much more disturbing was the young troublemaker who interrupted discussions with passersby by telling them to ‘go back to Israel, Jew!” Nobody stopped him. At last I spoke up and said it was inappropriate; he told me to shut up and that he was Jewish, so it was okay.

This is a big problem for liberals. There’s just a huge divide between the technocrats like myself and the loonies who wind up sabotaging us. They need to do their primal scream.

Whatever happened to “Get Clean For Gene”? Haven’t these ding-dongs read their Alinsky? From Rules for Radicals:

This failure of many of our younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous. Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience — and gives full respect to the other’s values — would have ruled out attacks on the American flag.

I’m reminded of the big NYC antiwar march I covered in the march-up to the Iraq War in 2003. It was the same kind of thing. I was for the war, of course, but seeing the Loony Left on full display cemented my (erroneous) conviction that the war was the right thing to do. I just knew that anything supported by people so deranged-looking and behaving had to be wrong. That wasn’t the case, but boy did those people and their “Bush = Hitler” nonsense hurt their cause with ordinary folks.

If the Wall Street protesters want to actually change something, they’ll deal with the anti-Semitic rabble and the trustafarian nitwits. If they just want to express themselves, well, fine, but that’s no way to build a meaningful, effective movement.

UPDATE: This just in from commenter DS in the Crescent City, apparently witnessing the successor to the Crusade for Moorish Dignity:

Ditto on the “Occupy NOLA” protest I just watched in New Orleans, which was a caricature of itself. All that was missing was Ignatius with a bedsheet/banner.

To summarize, they’re mad because they don’t have jobs, and the apparent solution is to shut down businesses, legalize pot, and eliminate racism. Seems it’s not just the right that has no *organized* populism.

At the front of the pack was the sign “don’t follow leaders.” So much for the movement.

Now they’re marching toward City Hall, with some wearing gas masks. This is presumably to protect the protesters from the cops who have been stopping and directing traffic for the past two hours to accommodate the protest.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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