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Diane Dimond
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A Message to the Occupiers

Comment

Somebody has to say it, so I will.

Dear Occupiers:

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.

Nice move.

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.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

5 Comments | Post Comment
I read your column the other day that criticized much of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. While I respect your right to express your opinion, I have to take issue with you on a number of your points.
First, I know several people who actively support the movement including a few of my colleagues at work. These individuals are solid citizens who have never needless provoked police officers and who are very careful about their hygiene and public safety. Some of them have participated in teach ins in the Movement like debating the merits and demerits of proportional representation vs. winner-take-all representation, just to mention a few of the teach-in topics. In my child-hood stomping ground of Nashville, Tennessee, I know of several participants who have taken on the issue of privatized prisons vs. public ones and how such privatization endangers public safety instead of enhancing it. Tennessee, as you know, has the dubious honor of having the home office of one of the major private prison companies. Tennessee's Republican Governor, to his credit, has dropped all charges against protesters at the Legislative Plaza last October, and has not, to my knowledge, made any new arrests. Maybe that is why Tennessee's Occupy Movement has not appeared as frequently on the news as have the other states' Occupy Movements that HAVE had continuing arrests.
As for your suggestion that government should get out of the way and let the "free" market reign, we HAVE tried that since the late Carter and early Reagan Administrations with practically no interruption, and where has it gotten us? Massive unemployment, unaccountable banks, crooked real estate agencies, unethical pharmaceutical companies, and unaccountable oil extractors like British Petroleum. While I am certainly NOT anti-private enterprise, I DO strongly support an active government role to keep the corporations accountable to the American and the world's people. Big business should not be above the law, and corporations should NOT have the status as persons. Government is the only avenue that the people have in order to make private enterprise work for them and to not impinge on peoples' rights or to endanger the planet's environment. We need a MIXTURE of public and private economic enterprise. Nobody is advocating the elimination of private initiative, just accountability. My parents grew up during the New Deal and they, especially my father's family experienced first hand the pains of long-term unemployment, the lack of adequate medical care, and the constant threat of foreclosure. Not surprisingly, my dad (and later my mom) because strong supporters of New Deal/Fair Deal/Great Society safety-net legislation. My parents never wavered from such views thereafter.
As for your support of more petroleum extraction as a remedy to unemployment, our country is over-dependent on fossil fuels along with the private automobile and suburban sprawl that go with it. We need more public transportation to help eliminate gridlock/congestion that threatens our transport arteries; and more neighborhood/office proximity/density so as to lessen one's commutes and to make mass transit more viable. Although I have a car for emergency purposes, I commute with public transit and my feet. A major change in our lifestyles is IMPERATIVE in order to save our civilization from otherwise inevitable collapse!
I am sorry that we are not on the same page here.
Comment: #1
Posted by: william r. delzell
Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:42 AM
Hey William: Did you grind you're teeth to the gums while you were writing this with the poster of Obama behind you?
Comment: #2
Posted by: bob l
Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:12 PM
Government has gotten incredibly involved with corporate America, between bailouts that pushed borrowed money at corrupt politicians and businesses, subsidies for more unproductive enterprises (including incredibly expensive, inefficient non-rapid transit and green projects in which the only green seen is the money on its way down the drain) and money floating around Washington that is on open invitation to corruption.
There are many corporations that are not corrupt, that provide needed goods and services that are getting slammed by unthinking, uninformed and unfair government interference. One the other hand, too much health care money is soaked up by drugpushing suppliers that falisfy and misinterpret test results and ignore negative side-effects. There does not seem to be any critical intelligence sorting out the good guys from the greedy ones. Which party gets the most money from corporate cronies? Not the "fat cat Republicans", BTW.
Comment: #3
Posted by: partsmom
Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:35 PM
I don't believe my granddad walked around Norfolk, VA. with a latter, a bucket and a brush - offering to wash the outside of a 2 story house for 25 cents during the depression was because he expected government to feed his family. Not only did he realize it was his job - but he was grateful on the days someone gave him the opportunity to work.
Grab your bootstraps America and lets move forward!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Donna Favero
Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:02 PM
Did you really just say all that? Being a journalist, or something, have you really not researched the world today? Can you really not see the distress people are in? How can that be? I am absolutely flabbergasted.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Wan
Fri Dec 2, 2011 4:30 PM
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