A Message to the Occupiers
Somebody has to say it, so I will.
Grow up, will ya?
In case you haven't noticed, times are tough. And it's not just here in America. All over the world, economies are circling the drain. Whole countries are teetering on the brink of total financial collapse, the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen. Unemployment is rampant almost everywhere, and every preconception you've had about what this country owes you is hereby cancelled.
As President Jimmy Carter once famously put it, "Life isn't fair." Get over it.
America's strength has always been that we are a nation of people who pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are the clever innovators who, wrapped in our freedoms and democracy, know how to make it out of every tough situation. We can make Shinola out of, well ... you know.
In other words, Occupiers, knock it off with the belly-aching tantrums and the ridiculous sit-ins at locations that don't symbolize anything. Many of you have been arrested for your meaningless actions and will henceforth be saddled with a police record. Your makeshift tent cities attracted the criminal element, and you needlessly fell prey to sex attacks, thefts and the spread of infectious diseases. (And while I'm at it, to the law enforcement officers who nonchalantly doused the faces of fellow citizens with pepper spray as if you were watering your front lawn, shame on you.)
Occupiers, your signs say you want "more jobs" and "economic equality?" You might as well demand the tooth fairy to leave a thousand dollars under your pillow every night. Life doesn't unfold on equal terms.
I get your frustration but not your tactics. Really, occupying Wall Street with the goal of shutting it down? Come on, you're intelligent people. Ever stop to think what would happen if you actually did close down the financial center of the United States? Complete economic chaos — that's what would follow. Food suppliers, banks, insurance companies, transportation companies, hospitals and schools that employ millions of people would stumble badly — perhaps collapse completely — and our 9 percent unemployment rate would quickly triple and then skyrocket out of sight.
And what good does occupying a university campus do? Or a subway system or a public park? Yes, it gives you a place to protest (and I'm all for organized protest), but it doesn't achieve your goal for more jobs.
In fact, dear Occupiers, your movement has actually cost some workers their jobs. Businesses situated right where you decided to plop down to protest have had to fire employees because few customers were willing to run a gauntlet just to get a cup of coffee or drop off their dry cleaning.
Listen up, Occupiers, if you really want more jobs, retribution for corporations' and banks' past bad acts, and a stronger overall economy, then wise up. Stop chanting, beating drums and holding up traffic in your neighborhood. Get yourselves to Washington, D.C., and put pressure on those who have created this decaying culture! After all, it was Congress that passed the laws that govern business practices in America. The big Poppa Bear entity that can change everything sits under a big white dome in our nation's capital.
Make one of your hand-painted signs that reads: NO MORE EXCUSES — FIX THE MESS! for all the politicians to see. Let them know that finger-pointing at the opposition party and failure to act (i.e., the congressional supercommittee) are not options.
Most of all, get involved in the political system by voting in the next election.
But be advised, Occupiers, the answer to our nation's economic problem is not for the government to get further involved or to demand more of our tax dollars to throw at different job-creating experiments. It is time for the government to get out of the way, to cut regulatory red tape and let the innovative spirit that built this country thrive again.
It's already working in North Dakota. A push to drill for oil reserves there — unimpeded by extra crippling regulations — has created thousands of new jobs. The migration to cities like Bismarck (where unemployment is at 3 percent) has, in turn, stimulated their housing industry, manufacturing and retail businesses. "Help Wanted" signs are everywhere, and determined Americans not content to sit on their asphalt and protest their plight are picking up and moving from as far away as Arizona to make $15 an hour serving tacos or $80,000 a year as a truck driver.
THAT'S how we became the great country that we are — growing and prospering off the sweat equity and creative thinking of the determined who are motivated to action in times of great strife.
So, Occupiers, stop adding to the problem. Start being part of the solution, or shut up and let others lead the way. You're not leaders, you're whiners. And while you say you represent the "99 percent" of Americans who are not million or billionaires, you really don't. I'm not a millionaire, my family has been through some tough economic times in the last few years, and I'm here to say your petulant and unfocused movement doesn't represent me or my neighbors at all.
If you want a different kind of world, work for real change instead of just making noise.
Diane Dimond's book, "Cirque Du Salahi — Be Careful Who You Trust," can be ordered at Amazon.com. Visit Diane Dimond's official website at www.dianedimond.com for investigative reporting, polls and more. To find out more about Diane Dimond and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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