Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that he sympathized with the “frustration and angriness” exhibited by “Occupy Wall Street” protesters.
“I was born in Harlem to immigrant parents, and my parents always had a job,” Powell told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “And so, people are concerned now that there is not that source of an income. There isn’t that work source that I remember.”
“So, what you’re seeing with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the others are people who are unhappy, and they’re directing their unhappiness right now towards Wall Street and towards those they think are doing to well in our society,” he continued. “And so, demonstrating like this is as American as apple pie. We have been marching up and down and demonstrating throughout our history. … And so, I get a little concerned when demonstrations turn into violence, or when some of the demonstrators demonstrate absolute nihilism and they’re really not interested in anything but destruction and tearing down the system.”
“Do you understand the anger particularly towards Wall Street, I think?” Morgan asked. “What really gets their goat is that a lot of these banks and bankers got bailed out by the taxpayers. The first chance they got, when they got back on their feet, to not give themselves huge bonuses again, they ignored that temptation and put their noses back in the trough.”
“Well, you know, I don’t know how to be too critical of that,” Powell replied. “And one of the things that is of concern to all of us is that there’s an increasing gap between those who are doing very well and I’m doing well, and those who are not doing as well. And those who are not doing as well are not seeing their lives improving. And so, there’s frustration and angriness there.”
“And so, it isn’t enough to scream at the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrators. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back in to how do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again? How do we get businesses that have a lot of money stacked up, how do we get them to invest that money and create jobs?”