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November 17th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Letters to the President #1032: 'Occupy steps up the action'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is no doubt following the latest developments as the Occupy protestors block roadways in various cities; just as he is no doubt eager to read today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

As I watch the news of all these thousands of Occupy protestors filling the streets in New York, L.A., and heaven knows where else, I am struck by two questions: 1) Are there enough porta-potties? And 2) How well will they manage the delicate balance that must be struck between gaining public attention and spurring public irritation? Mind you, angry crowds are seldom known for their sense of delicacy, but still you’ll get my point.

On one hand, they want to protest the imbalance of wealth and wages in this country (or at least that is one of many things on their loose agenda) and they would obviously like to get the attention of the big wigs. What better way to accomplish that than by snarling traffic, forcing businesses to either open late or not at all, and generally playing havoc with the work day.

On the other hand, in doing so they will also almost certainly have an impact on thousands of those ordinary, working Americans for whom they are allegedly fighting; people who repair elevators, sell bagels, clean offices, operate computer systems, drive buses, and on and on and on. Many of these are likely to be hourly workers who may or may not be paid for the time they miss (I’m going to bet ‘not’) as a result of the protestors blocking their way to work.

I’m not saying the protestors should give up on their actions. That is up to them to decide. But what I am saying is that this is one of those strange situations in which they are trying to, in effect, “free the hostages” of our economy, and they just mind wind up injuring a good many of them in the process.

If the protestors get the equation right, they will find rising public support for their cause. If they get it wrong, they will quickly be seen as yet another problem for our economy…not a solution.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so stop by later today if you have time…and assuming the road is not blocked. Ha!

Regards,
Tom

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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