Let the People Speak. Do not Stifle Dissent.

To those out there who applaud police actions to clear Occupy camps across the country, to those who think these people should not have a venue to air their grievances, to those who are against the messiness of public protest, consider this:

If we followed your lead, this country would have stayed in Vietnam, the South would be segregated, and women would not have the right to vote. Oh, and the USA would also still be British.

One of the things that makes this country so great is that its citizens have the right to stand up and demand change. You don’t have to agree with what protesters are saying, but you should be thankful that people are invested enough in our country to try to improve it.

And by the way, this is true of everyone – Occupiers, Tea Partiers, everyone. I’m convinced if you took away the divisive talk radio hate-mongering (on both sides), you’d find most rank-and-file Occupiers and Tea Party supporters have a shocking amount of grievances in common. Unfortunately, our media earns its living by creating divisions and maintaining a status quo by keeping us apart.

So, I say: let the people speak. Ignore them at your own peril. One of the greatest strengths of a democracy is its ability to allow for change from below. It can be messy, but it’s vital.