Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Leveling the Playing Field - A Letter to OWS

(c) Home on the Range 2012

When I look at the news of the Occupy Wall Street protesters today  I see the result of, not politics, but a generation of parenting the "entitled generation".

Like my grandparents and parents before me, I was a generation that worked for everything. Allowance wasn't given, it was earned. If you wanted more than enough for a weekly candy bar or a soda from your allowance, you worked extra to earn it. Washing the car was 50 cents, waxing it a buck. Pulling weeds, a quarter a bucket and it was a big bucket. We honored our word and respected our parents, our veterans and our flag. If we didn't, there were consequences.

When it came time for college there was a small check for the first quarters tuition and books and that was it. I was totally on my own. Tuition was earned, and I busted my rear for scholarships based on academics, not color or gender. Only failing that were there student loans. The loans needed were taken willingly and paid back, even if it meant no new car, no electronics or dinners out, for years. Like any debt, we took them on by choice, we paid them back, as that is what adults do, even if it seemed to be a very slow process.

I didn't major in liberal arts, art history, French or PE. I started out majoring in Aerospace Engineering, a dream of mine, when Boeing laid off 3000 people. OK. Did I stay in my beloved major because it was what I wanted?. No. I switched my undergrad major to something for which there were employment opportunities at that time. And I worked hard. I didn't party, own a car, protest or take the summers off to hang out at my parents, drinking their beer when they were off working to pay for my lifestyle. I knew what I wanted to achieve and that would involve graduate school. I had to do it working full time, not finishing until I was in my 30's.

Nothing of value comes easily and it's rarely handed to you on a plate.

My work has value. My mind has value. I won't do it for free. Those that do that, are amateurs, not professionals. As a professional I expect to be paid. Nor will I do it to pay the rent and gas and food of those who aren't willing to put forth their own effort to the best of their own ability. A hard working person, down on their luck, I will help in many ways. I've added to the tip jar of bloggers, caught up in exploding cars, dysfunctional pets, and bad experiences with Comcast. I've helped people in my community, neighbors, suddenly and through no fault of their own, out of a job, with food and/or child care while they went to an interview; with assistance with crafting a new resume and getting them some job contacts. I volunteer at the food bank, at a shelter for domestic violence. Helping those, young and old, that are actively trying to better themselves.

But do not ask me to support, through work or taxes or even my time, which has value of its own, a bunch of "protesters" who only wish to take, simply because they feel they are owed it for existing. Everything for everybody, the slogan of a those who grew up getting trophies for showing up and losing. Self esteem is more important than drive or work ethic being the mantra they were raised on.

Now these protesters and those that use them to further their agenda without getting dirty say the "rest of us" will have to give up a little more so there can be more for those that "don't have". For they were never taught that"nothing is free". Wreck your car that mommy and daddy bought you. They'll buy you another. Squander your money on electronics and toys and now don't have the money to eat, that's OK, someone else will feed you.

I hate to break it to you folks, but there is no big pot of gold at the end of the beltway.  The money the government runs off of comes from the slightly more than half of the country that pays income taxes for the half that doesn't. They owe you neither an education or happiness.

So OWS, nothing is free, including the police, the food that magically appears in your camps through no effort of your own, the band aids, the condoms and the repairs and the million dollar clean ups of the civic temper tantrum of a spoiled child.

You want to "level the playing field". Certainly jobs are hard to find, they're hard to find for good, hard working people. They're even more hard to find with multiple piercings, tattoos, dirty hair and an arrest record. College doesn't guarantee you a job, though it greatly increases your chances. Like anything in life, it has its rewards, it has it's risks, and it has it's price.

Some people are given every advantage, and they squander them. Others take the modest skills they have and with nothing more than perseverance and sweat, succeed with them. They might go on to buy a big, comfy house where the person that squandered their gifts or makes a series of bad choices drives a 20 year old Buick and rents an apartment with a roommate. Sometimes the person that did everything right, still ends up with the 20 year old Buick. Sometimes life just kicks you in the teeth and you lose what you have, despite your hard work. That, folks, is reality, which has nothing to do with fairness.

We hear walk of equality. We hear talk of freedom. Freedom in the political sense means freedom from government coercion. It does NOT mean freedom from an employer, from a landlord, freedom from the laws of supply and demand, or freedom from the laws of nature. Laws which do not guarantee prosperity to every man.

It means freedom to use your abilities the best you can, to craft a life for yourself to the best of your ability. It means freedom to protect that which you have earned, from other people, in a manner that's true to the Constitution that founded this country.

The American political system was not based on "everything for everyone". It was based on a moral principal that defined what made America great; on the principal of man's inalienable right to his own life - meaning, the principal that man has the right to exist for his own sake. Not sacrificing himself or his or her family to others by force nor sacrificing others to himself without free will. Social interactions are not done by handouts but by trading, men dealing with others as traders, by voluntary choices to mutual benefit.

The American economy, was not built up by "giving it away". What is unique in America is we were the first to use the phrase "to make money", no other language has that phrase used in that manner, in history, men had always thought of riches as a static quality to be seized, begged inherited, shared or looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to truly grasp that wealth has to be created. Created with the efforts of individuals, who improved our world through hard work, and effort and earned money from it as a byproduct of their individual effort.

So Protesters, do you want to get the attention of those who actually provide the tax dollars for the many things you demand? Take off your silly masks like you're kids playing Halloween, and look for a job, even volunteering for free looks better on a resume than "I broke some windows for the cause".   First and foremost give something back to this country which you have no problem taking everything from.

I've given 10 years of my life in service to this country. I've been shot at and spit on and gone hungry more than once. You are not the 99%. You aren't even the 99% of your generation which includes many young people like my friends, people in their 20's and 30's, working hard, many who would give anything to have the opportunities you have had. Add to that the millions of us who have labored longer than you've been alive, making do with less, working harder, longer and smarter to ensure our family is safe and our country stays strong.

You asked the working people to strike today. We all went to work. You wonder why your protests did not sway us?  The majority of the working people that look at you do not see what you do.  They see simply the indolent, the narcissistic, the immature, demanding free education while waiving your $500 electronic toys in the air as  you destroy the property of someone who worked hard for it.

For we have learned, many of us at your age, that life isn't fair, never was, never will be.  You've watched too much TV if you think you go to college and suddenly get a massive, fancy apartment in New York where you can hang out with cool people and drive a BMW at age 25.

Look around at all the workers that went on "strike" today.  Oh that's right, there really weren't any.  Because OWS,  you are not the voice of America, you're the offspring of all that's wrong with her.

 - Brigid


  1. I agree violently (!) with this. In fact I need to change the font size to about 120,000 for an AMEN!

    Can I get a purple heart for my book report on purple hearts? A participation award for breathing in and out? I want I want I want.

  2. Thank you, Brigid, for saying what many of us feel, but lack the eloquence to say.

  3. A meaningful life cannot be built on regrets or entitlement. I look at the younger men that I work with and see them making many of the same mistakes that I did and wish that I could spare them some of the heartache I have known. There are no do overs or mulligan's in life: opportunity must be seized from the jaws if defeat, we must rebound after every missed attempt in order to get points on the board- our very lives depend on it.
    I do not wallow in self-pity nor regret; my failures in life have brought me to this point and a new way of living. Still, I can look back and see opportunity squandered and know just how much farther along in life I would be had I diligently applied myself fifteen years ago, the way that I do now. I do not find it demoralizing, instead it drives me as though under the lash to work hard and perform to earn a better life. (Why else would a man forgo workman's comp and return to full duty with three broken ribs less than twenty-four hours after shattering the windshield of a WA200 with his head?). The harder I work and the older I get, the more I strive to live by Galt's pledge.

  4. Thanks Brigid for your post. its sounds way better then what I wrote this morning.

    Also thank you for your service to our country. Maybe we need to bring back the draft.

  5. AMEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. North and drjim both beat me to the punch (darned time zones!) but you did well, here. The Anchorage protest, as of 4 pm, consists of fewer than a dozen people, one sign, and a booth (offering free food, no doubt). Folks here have to work, as you so very eloquently pointed out.

    I'd laugh at them, if it weren't so tragic.

  7. Thank you, Brigid!

    You said with eloquence what so many of us feel.

    Thank you, for the time you spend writing this blog it's a breath of fresh air my wife and I look forward to each evening.


  8. The Seattle protest, alas, was not so peaceful. Mayor issues emergency order after mayhem in Seattle | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News
    They better not mess with Mrs. Drang on her way home from work...

  9. Brilliant, Brigid...I can neither top it, nor even equal it, so I'll link to it instead. And I'll encourage my older daughter to read it..she's just getting to the age of awareness of such things.

  10. The only free thing I want is a Free Fire Zone...

  11. Excellent! Most excellent!

  12. Thank you for nailing it completely.

    Sometimes the faceplant(s) in life can be a great learning experience, without it it's impossible to grow and learn. Those who allow other people to live and learn for them, have given up their personal freedom. And those that guard and treasure their personal freedom will always be successful.

  13. Well said, as always. I watched my mother cripple herself with hard manual labor to support a family. I knew what that can of soda cost her and I didn't ask for one very often.

    I've no idea how we'll move past that generation of the Useless and Unwilling and retain the Republic. I don't think it is possible...but we will try.

  14. Well said...useless people largely wanting a free (and largely useless) education in some obscure degree track that isn't employable in reality.

    "Get a JOB".
    ahem....I sound like my parents (whom I am finding out were right about darn near everything.)

  15. Out of the Park. Thanks for speaking my mind .

  16. "Because OWS, you are not the voice of America, you're the offspring of all that's wrong with her."

    Thank you.
    That right there is icing upon awesome.
    Enter superlative here: ________.

  17. Amen, sister! Well said.

    @Rob, I served in the Viet Nam era when there was a draft. It was a disaster. Those of us who volunteered wanted nothing to do with the draftees, and they wanted nothing to do with us.

    You might force the OWS crowd into a uniform, but you'll never get them to embrace the virtues that true volunteers possess.

  18. When the best I can come up with is "Get a &*^8 job" because these people make me so darned angry, you go and smack it out of the park.

    "Because OWS, you are not the voice of America, you're the offspring of all that's wrong with her." You absolutely nailed it.

  19. Very well written. I could not agree more. Still waiting on some of that free money to come my way :)

  20. Very well said, and thanks for the plug for the Vietnam Vets.

  21. "I've added to the tip jar of bloggers, caught up in exploding cars, dysfunctional pets, and bad experiences with Comcast."

    The whole, boldly written piece was awesome, but the Comcast line. Priceless.

  22. Did you know my parents in another life? If you happen to run into them again please tell them I took their advice and things are working out just fine.

  23. Just a quick note to you all as I leave the house for work.

    Thank you everyone, but your support, for your kind comments, for your embracing the values of so many generations.

    Drang - I didn't talk to my brothers last night up there, hope it ended well.

    Sarge - Two of the oldest boys in my family (I'm the baby, adopted late in life) served there. My brother "Bull" was part of Operation Ivy Bells on the Sea Wolf. Bless you for your service.

    FarmDad - thank you Sir, from you and your family, that means a lot.

    Stephen - big hug.

    I've got to run. . later. . .B.

  24. My thoughts exactly. Thank you for saying them.

  25. Well said...beautifully written, too bad the idiots will not read it and will dismiss you as a "stupid clinger". I will do my part to spread your message to the indolent.

    Your comment "Nor will I do it to pay the rent and gas and food of those who aren't willing to put forth their own effort to the best of their own ability. " just reminded me that I am forced to do so at gun point by the federal government.

  26. Once again, Brigid - a breath of fresh air. Thanks for writing - you are encouraging.

  27. Once again, Brigid - a breath of fresh air. Thanks for writing - you are encouraging.

  28. B:

    Bravo! I can't think of anyone that has said it better.

  29. Well said and on point... They aren't even worth wasting the time on (IMHO)... Slap their asses in jail, convict them don't coddle them, and move on to the next generation that 'seems' to be getting a clue...

  30. As everyone already intoned, Brigid says what many of us believe, but with more eloquence.
    "Because OWS, you are not the voice of America, you're the offspring of all that's wrong with her."
    AMEN, infinity!

  31. It couldn't have been said better. Now, if only we could force the target audience to actually read and understand it.

  32. Drifted over from Og's. Your post should be on every papers OP-ED page. I suspect many would not read, and still more would disagree, but who knows, you might ...with your sterling prose of truth... convert a few fence sitters, and the rest of those who have lived what you have written, and or are in agreement with same (that would be where I fit in), would love to see something this good make it to a much wider audience.

    Thank you for your words, your taking the time to say it, and for your service.

  33. Fantastic post! Beautifully written. I agree not only with what you said, but how you said it!

  34. The last paragraph says it ALL. So true, but we're wearing down while Oblama & Co never seem to run out of time or money.

  35. Wow.
    What a great post!
    Now Mitt needs to add one more name to his VP list.
    We need someone who will take it to them.

  36. Mrs. Drang says she saw a lot of boarded-up businesses on her way in to work today. Evidently Mayor McSchwinn's house was stoned.
    More: Rain drives May Day protesters away after earlier outbreak of vandalism | Local News | The Seattle Times
    Includes maps of "outbreaks."

  37. Well put, Brigid.

    I was lucky enough to live at home when I went to the local commuter campus, first for a BA then for Master's work. It was otherwise work, scholarships, grants, and loans for me. There wasn't any other money for college.


  38. Brigid, thank you so much for putting your words where my thoughts were.

    I sometimes have difficulty getting the words just right. Sometimes they just don't seem to flow from brain to mouth.

    You truly have a gift with words, you are able to paint pictures with words.
    thank you

  39. Brigid,

    Perfect, and so much more eloquently than I seem to be able to gather up.

    I'll only add, I used to tell my sons that Fair is that place where ribbons are handed out to livestock. Not what life always delivers.

    Thank you!

  40. Thank you Miss Brigid, well said!!

  41. Were these morally inclined people instead of spoiled, liberal, self esteem monsters I would point them to 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Paraphrasing: you don't work, you shouldn't eat.

  42. Again, I am overwhelmed with the comments and the support, I wish I had time tonight to respond to each of you, but I just came off a few days where I was up at 2 or 3 am, and not to bed til 9. I'm fighting a tummy bug, and not feeling too perky tonight. So for now, a warm thank you, and a welcome to my new readers, especially of those of you, like navvet55, thank you Sir. Og deer hunts with me among other adventures and he, his wife and daughter are good friends, so his words meant a lot to me as well

    Until later, there's some alka seltzer and a quilt with my name on it (Barkley, that's my SLIPPER!!!)

  43. I agree to everything you've said!! unfortunately,the OWS crowd isn't that bright and probably too stupid to follow your entire article.

    Since I realized that, I thought of a wonderful video that you can use that will both educate them AND it's short enough that they won't zone out. (it's probably a good idea for quite a few Congressmen as well)

    It's called "me is mine, you is yours".
    not mine, btw. but I thought it would get your point across admirably.


  44. Totally agree with Shepherd K, although there are differing degrees in "not working". I've written large checks in the past to friends who were having trouble finding a job and struggling making ends meet...but they were ACTIVELY SEEKING after jobs. I have no problems reaching out a hand to those who are on the slippery slopes and still struggle towards level(ish) ground. I refuse to help out those who refuse to help themselves, or even try. Those who try don't always succeed...but at least they're trying. And in the failing, there are lessons that are learned and built upon. The trying, though...that I can respect.

  45. Brigid,

    Just back from a late night meeting. Nice job. You did good, B. Real good.


  46. Wait, there was a protest yesterday? Didn't hear about in while I was putting in an 11-hour shift. You're damned right about the spoiled kids, though.

    I know one of those kids. Nice kid, no common sense, and no wish to get any. I cringe a little when she gets into bad situations, but I accepted long ago that until she realizes that the unfairness of life isn't somebody else's fault or because people are mean, it's just the actual way the world works, there's no point in helping her.

    *hugs* Hope you feel better soon, and Barkley gives back your slipper. And your other slipper. And your sneakers...

  47. Who cares about OWS?

    Now, those planes in the first picture, tell me more...

  48. My Father who is pretty liberal says the OWS crew need to get jobs and vote. I do not find any flaws in his thinking.

  49. Sigivald - those were all taken at a tractor steam fest in Minnesota (I enjoy going to those)

  50. Fort Bragg & Fayetteville NC. No OWS issues. Outstanding day. You are as eloquent as usual.

  51. One of your best. I hope you are feeling better as well


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  53. Wow! I haven't read them all, but is this a comment record?! My contribution, small though it may be, is at the checkout line. This was better when food stamps were used, but I guess they made the recipients feel bad. Anyway, with the person in front of you finding out he/she/it is a few bucks light for the Twinkies and steak I won't spend my money on, I cover the balance. Between my wife and I we make well under 100k, have kid tuition, mortgage, cars,and heaven forbid , JOBS that pay us in REAL MONEY! When I am thanked--sometimes not-- I am occasionally asked why I would do that. I simply respond by saying that I want someone to see that there are FACES attached to the goods,and it does a body good to know who is really paying the bills, the taxpayer, not the "gubmitt". Sometimes there is a downward glance and a "Thanks"; usually the recipient storms out. That's OK. I don't do it for them. I do it for those in the immediate area, I did it for my kids when they were growing up. Reinforcing reality is painful sometimes. My wife thinks I'm a troublemaker, but there has never been anything remotely like anger from anyone but the rare recipient, nor is it my goal to embarass, intimidate,alienate or anything but educate.

  54. Wow -- that was so well said! It echoes every sentiment in me. I hope you don't mind, am posting the link to this article on my facebook account. I could never have said this so well. Amen, amen, AMEN!

  55. Michelle - links are fine and thank you for much for your kind words!


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