Today, Charlotte Mecklenburg police dragged off the useful idiot Occupy Charlotte protesters for no longer being hip … or useful.
Let’s not kid ourselves that the powers that be in Charlotte banned these protesters because they were rumpling the city property they were camped out on or because they had become a danger to themselves or anyone else or a threat to the peace. This was one of the most peaceful Occupy demonstrations in the country. The Charlotte City Council could have merely passed an ordinance that clamped down on hardcore anarchist protesters during extraordinary events like the DNC, a move that made sense.
But they piled on and also passed an ordinance banning protesters from camping on city property at all times, effectively ending the Occupy protest now. Why?
The local protesters, who hadn’t shown the proclivity for violence seen elsewhere, were broomed because they had become an embarrassment to the national and local liberal establishment with their bizarre antics, and had begun to become a threat to national Democrats’ electoral chances.
Don’t believe me?
Recall that in October, the Charlotte Observer editorial board viciously attacked the local GOP for wanting an ordinance to ban the Occupiers from further destroying city property by camping on it — in other words, the same darn ordinance we have now. In the piece, the paper’s editorial board actually defended the idea of Occupiers damaging city property because it was for a good cause. That was back when it was thought that the Occupiers would be Obama’s Tea Party, that their hip message would bolster Obama’s class warfare strategy and help return him to the White House. The viciousness of this October Observer editorial against the GOP-generated idea of removing the Occupiers from city property is almost shocking now:
The City Council should think hard before rushing forth an ordinance limiting such legal protests. Yes, grass is in jeopardy, and the protesters are an eyesore to some. But democracy can be messy, and the right to congregate sometimes makes us uncomfortable.
For Republicans who fret that prominent party officials don’t often take a public stand for the environment, we bring you heartening news: Mecklenburg’s GOP leaders are proudly green this week, speaking out to protect a precious patch of Charlotte’s grass. The endangered turf is at Old City Hall, where Occupy Charlotte protesters began camping out earlier this month – and perhaps might remain until next year’s Democratic National Convention.
That possibility has prompted an outpouring of grief from Republicans, led by Mecklenburg commissioner Bill James, who took a break from bashing homosexuals to condemn this new crime against nature. James sent emails this week to fellow Republicans showing the lush condition of the grass before Occupy protesters arrived. Protesters were violating the law by camping out in front of the office building, he said, and he criticized the hypocrisy of “eco-friendly” individuals putting the grass in peril. “No way they can put tents on it 24/7 and not kill off what took years to grow,” he wrote.
City councilman Andy Dulin, who received the email and photo of the lawn, said he can only imagine “the crap it looks like” now. Dulin, who regularly lands on the side of developers against ordinances protecting trees and other greenery, told the editorial board Friday that “conversations” are happening to produce a new ordinance that would disperse the protesters. He insists the move has nothing to do with Occupy’s liberal message, but that “It’s crazy that the city of Charlotte has no ordinance or policy that stops someone from camping forever on our property.”
A new ordinance would be fine with former mayor and future gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, who also rose up against the Occupiers this week. McCrory’s beef is more practical than horticultural. If officials let a small group set up tents, he told the Observer’s Tim Funk, what happens when large groups of protesters show up next September for the convention? McCrory also noted that such demonstrations could be bad for public safety, not to mention unsanitary. Or, as Dulin put it: “If one protester urinates or defecates on public property, he should be hauled off to jail.”
Ouch. Fast forward a month later though, and Occupy protesters across the country had begun to become a national embarrassment to the Democrats with their public sex, violence, destruction and defecation. Prominent liberals like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who had initially supported and coddled the movement began taking steps to evict them.
Even though Charlotte’s occupiers hadn’t yet posed any threat to public safety, the Observer’s tune also abruptly changed when it was clear that the protesters had become such an embarrassment that they could actually hurt Obama and the Democrats in the fall elections. The paper’s editorialists began calling for the very same type of ordinance they had trashed the GOP for suggesting the month before, one that would essentially silence their comrade protesters in arms and — more importantly — remove their smelly, unwashed bodies from public view immediately.
Again, they could have merely banned them during the DNC, but that was no longer good enough. Public approval has hit such a low that the Occupiers are down 20 points in support in … San Francisco, where majorities no longer back them.
Fast forward again to today’s editorial, where the Observer, defending the local liberal powers that be, actually praised the city council for going way beyond what the local GOP had suggested in October and passing one of the toughest anti-protest ordinances the country has ever seen:
Banning protesters from sleeping on public property, however, was sensible. New York, Oakland and other cities have found that people living and sleeping in campsites on public property can evolve into unruly, dangerous mobs. That’s what the City Council was seeking to avoid when it softened its proposed ordinance … Protest all you want, but no living (and sleeping) on public property. That’s a sensible restriction. One needn’t sleep to protest or peaceably assemble.