It may not seem like a big deal – throwing away the books of a bunch of hippies – but the NYPD’s mindless destruction of the makeshift OWS library in Zuccoti park is a symbol of what has happened to America.
The militarization of domestic policing in the US after 9/11 is having a serious and corrosive effect on the country. Americans fear the police like never before, knowing that in the name of security, law enforcers can strip them of their rights and pretty much do what they want. The abuse leveled at regular protesters has been extraordinary. The police have beaten, shot and pepper sprayed defenseless civilians with such casualness one would think America was a third world dictatorship.
Books are the foundation of knowledge and our civilization. Under the Fox News/George Bush cultural paradigm created over the last decade, learning and intelligence were replaced with anti intellectualism and violence – attributes that the Right thought made America great. They didn’t and what was left was an almighty mess that grownups are desperately trying to clean up. If there is a cultural war going on in America, it is between those who respect knowledge and thoughtfulness and those who dont.
The library in Zuccoti park was a small protest against the crass media culture that has helped destroy serious thought in America, and the police tore it apart like they would a drug dealers den.
In my mind, that says it all.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.