Occupy Baltimore was purposeful — and worked

The Sun in its recent editorial ("Time for Phase II," Dec. 14), tells us that Occupy Baltimore protesters need to become "mainstream," that camping out in downtown Baltimore accomplished nothing and city residents were "perplexed" by the actions of the protesters.

Some of the tactics the protesters used may have seemed over-the-top, but they created an awareness of issues that likely would not have been noticed using conventional, mainstream methods of protest.

The civil rights movement and the peace movement of the 1960s and '70s relied on nonviolent, civil disobedience to accomplish their goals of equality for African Americans and an end to the war in Vietnam. These actions were against the law, and often created inconvenient situations for commuters and others going about their business — hardly mainstream actions.

The primary issues the Occupy protesters are addressing are the vast and growing income gap between the rich and the rest of us and the increasing influence of mega-corporations on every aspect our lives. That includes politicians bought and paid for with corporate funds, health care for the wealthy, a deteriorating environment, perpetual war over sources of energy and the constant fear of poverty and homelessness (for many, only a paycheck away). These are hardly separate, unrelated issues.

President Barack Obama has taken notice and begun addressing these issues in recent speeches.

While the 3 a.m. wake-up was harsh and unnecessary, protesters and police deserve credit for their mutual respect for each other.

Lee Lears, Annapolis

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