Dear Mayor McGinn,
Don't do it. Whatever you do, don't authorize the police to sweep the Occupy Seattle protesters out of Westlake Park. Mass arrests... macings... potentially violent confrontations... nothing good can come from it.
I know, I know, the protesters are violating the law—laws you've sworn to uphold. And yeah, they're disrupting commerce and generally making a nuisance of themselves. But that's the whole point of civil disobedience, isn't it? And at your core, you know that the protesters are right, that their cause is just, and that the best thing for America right now would be for this movement to grow.
So rather than looking at this as a no-win situation that forces you to choose between doing your job and being true to your values, I urge you to use this as an opportunity to fulfill the potential many supporters saw in you during your campaign, by becoming the first big-city mayor in the nation to stand firmly with the Occupy movement, and not against. Call off the police. Go to Westlake Park and promise them your protection. Hell, set up your own tent and spend the night. Now that would catapult you into the national spotlight.
Yeah, sure, it would be a risky political move. But then, you've already totally lost the support of Seattle's business establishment—they'll be putting their money behind your opponent(s) in 2013 for sure—so what's to lose there? And yeah, the Seattle Times editorial board and professional assholes like Dori Monson would viciously savage you, but how's that different from any other day?
But stand with the Occupy movement, and you could become a local folk hero, generating the kind of genuine grassroots support no amount of political money can overcome. A risky gambit, you betcha. But since when have you backed away from risk? And besides, you know it's the right thing to do.
We elected you to make the tough choices. It's time to make one.
Best of luck,