Calling themselves the “99 Percenters” and holding signs that say “Socialism is not a dirty word” and “Tax the rich, change the world,” crowds are gathering, composed largely of young adults, to protest the ills that they perceive to be holding them down – greed, injustice, and inequality.
The protests started as “Occupy Wall Street,” an effort to call attention to what some call a “corporatocracy” – a ruling corporate political class. To them, corporations are the enemy, as one sign proclaimed.
For Obama and Company, these “occupiers” are a dream come true. The protestors believe companies should be taxed more so others can share in their wealth. They believe the government and corporations are disempowering unions and the working man. They are even focusing on transgender equality and other socially sensitive matters. They are chasing as many liberal rabbits as possible, throwing talking points against the wall to see what sticks. But they have no real plan of political or legislative action; they’re just shouting, singing, dancing, and marching against the “man.”
Protests without a plan to correct perceived problems are pointless. If you object, offer a solution. As my father use to tell me, “Either you’re part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.” In other words, occupy a position, not a street.
The demonstrations have some comparing these protests to 1960s Civil Rights sit-ins. However, a keen observer can quickly see that such comparisons demean those brave men and women of yesteryear. The sit-ins in the ’60s were over basic human rights, freedom and equality no matter the color of skin. These protestors today are demonstrating because they want a new form of equality; they want what someone else has without earning it because they feel they deserve it, that they are entitled to share in the wealth.
The protests have spread to cities from coast to coast – Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, even Mobile, Alabama. Social media has definitely played a role in expanding the protests; the “Occupy” effort has some 150,000 Facebook followers. But what has buoyed the protests as of late has been the participation of labor unions. That’s right, organized labor is now supporting them with funds and encouraging their members to join in the protests.
Many see this movement as the liberals’ answer to the Tea Party. “Occupiers” stand in stark contrast to the Tea Party since Tea Partiers are hard working, tax paying, capitalism loving, debt hating, freedom of choice believing average Americans from all walks a life. Tea Partiers cannot take a month off work to go sit in the street because they are paying the “occupiers” entitlement checks.
And unlike the Tea Party, arrests for disorderly conduct, inciting riots, and even striking police officers have been made in a variety of “Occupy” locations. Tea Partiers have not gotten arrested; they abide by the law. Tea Partiers also do not leave trash and filth along the streets and public areas at their rallies, something these “occupiers” could learn from.
I know when emotions flare people do not always think straight; they only see the negatives. It can be easy to forget the positives during such times. I guess that’s why they have forgotten that even the poorest of Americans enjoy what many in centuries past would have considered living like the king – clean water, access to healthcare, government handouts, and the like.
And let’s not forget that the capitalism these protestors so despise gave them their Iphones, Ipads, social media, and the rest of their must haves. That dang capitalism!
One sign said, “I don’t need oil. I take the bus.” Really?!
Yes, the economy is bad and times are tough. Yes, people are out of work and jobs are scarce. Yes, life isn’t fair all of the time. But none of these mean you have a right to wealth you haven’t earned. Nor does it mean that because you have less than your neighbor that there is an injustice or inequality the government must right. These “occupiers” need to look up the definition of greed because they would see their picture right next to it.
The fact is that the very opportunities these protestors want will be killed if they get what they are asking for. Placing higher taxes and more regulations on businesses will only stifle or even strangle job creation and payrolls. Corporations, large and small, provide jobs; the government does not. Corporations build wealth, not only for the company but for its employees; government does not.
We can all thank our bloated system of entitlements for this new generational mentality that is driving these protestors. They don’t want to do the work but they want to eat the cake. That’s just not how it works in America, no matter what Obama and Company may tell you.
Government’s role should be to provide an environment where all can succeed through personal choice and hard work, not mandate that we all succeed equally in the same time and in the same way. You get out of America what you put in – that’s just how it works. And sometimes there’s just not enough to go around, no matter how hard that is to realize.
We cannot be afraid to tell people that they simply cannot have their cake and eat it too. That’s life, and life can be unkind. But when it is unkind, you don’t have the right to redistribute someone else’s wealth and hard work to shore up the deficiencies in your own life situation, no matter your struggles. Government cannot solve your ills; that’s your responsibility.
If you’ve watched politics for any length of time, you knew a movement such as this was coming. Obama and Company have routinely beaten the “us versus them” drum, trying to define rich and demonizing businesses. Some want more than what they have earned. The soaring national debt has many on the other side calling for a reduction in government spending, and yes, entitlements. This is seen as an attack on the poor.
America is in a new ideological fight today – the American Dream versus the American Handout.