Two days ago, this image surfaced showing a campus policeman applying pepper spray to students of the University of California at the Occupy Davis protests who were just sitting still against police orders for them to disperse, and in compliance with their right to publicly demonstrate.
Words, it has been said, can’t successfully match the power of an image. The image of a student standing in front of a tank at Tinneman Square put civil disobedience in the face of brutal force into unquantifiable perspective. So did the images of soldiers hosing protesters in Egypt on a bridge in Cairo just a few months ago.
The Occupy protests all around the country haven’t always made sense nor always fully represented the outlook of all that are upset by the state of the economy in America today. They however have represented the genuine grievances of a country fed up with the state of things in government. Those who have criticized their methods have not been able to provide political alternatives, or successfully make a case for anything bolder and more effective than a public action that got everyone talking. There have been occasional loons and wusses, to use words from Fox News, and those who sought to paint the movement as anything but genuine and grassroots have used these isolated cases to demonize the movement. The real nucleus of this movement however has been a non-violent occupation of public spaces in order to make them uncomfortable enough for those concerned to take action.
When added to other pictures from around the world today where people are revolting against unsatisfactory government policies, the image above blends right in, except that the other places where brute unmatched force has been used on helpless civilians have been failed/police states. They have never pretended to defend or support human rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. America, this (more of the pepper spray incident in video) should shame you.
These students deserve credit for the extraordinary amount of courage and restraint it must have required to stay non-violent in the face of such brutal use of police force. Everyone should be disgusted. I am.