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Originally published Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

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Marchers cannot let the vandals steal the moment or the message

Outrage over the Great Recession needs to be sustained by public education and political activity. Do not let the vandals trash the core pursuit of economic reform.

Seattle Times Editorial

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IF May Day protesters are angry their messages got lost in the mayhem and theatrics of a handful of black-clad vandals, they can hardly blame law enforcement, City Hall or the media.

A vaguely defined Occupy movement, along with a once-a-year appearance by labor and immigration activists, creates a fleeting moment for attention. Competition is intense, and the window-breakers will always win.

Likewise the demographic of the lawful demonstrators is too broad to blame the events on young people. The marchers displayed ample maturity, in demeanor and gray hair, to isolate and blame any age group.

These events will always attract a cowardly few who hide their appearance beneath the clichéd garb of the moment. The "black bloc" will be passé soon enough. One might wonder who was watching their skateboards during the fleeting drama. Maybe they really need a hug.

Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Police Department responded with the experience of lessons learned. Their professional and expected efforts to contain the damage and the campy anarchists were appropriate.

The reminder for the legitimate marchers is to never forget their efforts are ripe for exploitation by costumed poseurs from a graphic novel. Crowd marshals protect both their own people and their purpose.

The so-called anarchists are as pathetic and contemptible as thrashing the cars of working people trying to hold it together through the Great Recession.

How about a sustained movement that promotes public education and voter registration? Tuesday night, KCTS was airing a PBS Frontline documentary on the roots of the international economic calamity. Crack any number of books on the origins of the financial collapse.

Help citizens understand what happened and how it can be corrected. Next time the crowd could be 10 times larger. And the feckless punks even more irrelevant.

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