Sunday, September 1, 2013

(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