16 October 2011

The OWSers don't make me angry; they make me sad

I hate to even give this "movement" more attention, since the MSM are headlining them despite small numbers and a message which is, to put it charitably, inchoate.

I wish it were not too late to coin the phrase "rebel without a clue," because it is absolutely perfect for this crowd.

I saw this picture from the Detroit off-shoot of OWS over at NRO this morning:


Make the banks pay for education? Seriously? Are these people former contestants from the Tonight Show's "Jaywalking" segments?

It brought to mind one of my soldiers back in my Army days. He and his wife had to attend financial counseling because they had been bouncing checks. They were really confused about how that could be happening, because, they said, "we still have lots of checks left."

When my daughter was small, on one occasion we told her we could not buy something because we didn't have enough money. "Go to the bank and get some," was the obvious solution - to my three-year-old.

Some commentators have gone out of their way to express sympathy for the sad stories posted over at the 99% blog, suggesting that they put a real human face on "the Great Recession." I've read through a bunch of them, too, and I have not found, for the most part, that there is a whole lot to connect those stories specifically to the current economy. Most are divided between three categories: truly sad stories, which could happen in any time; problems brought on by stupid decisions; and "we are the lucky ones" statements by people who are personally fine, but "ashamed" of their country.

We are the ninety-nine percent? Try 100%. All people have sadness in their lives - that is a constant of the human condition. We should all be more sympathetic and and helpful to each other; we should all "be kind," as Philo of Alexandria said, "for everyone is fighting a great battle."

But my sympathy evaporates when you angrily demand that "the banks" make you whole because somebody in your family got sick, or when you insist that your $120,000 in school loans be forgiven because you just learned that your lifelong dream of being a social worker makes your decision to borrow it look pretty stupid in retrospect. Those are not moral or political demands, they are mere selfishness; a symptom of our increasingly narcissistic culture.

Ultimately, the OWSers are really no different that Willie Sutton. They protest the banks because that's where the money is. At least Willie was honest about it.

I understand rage at the unfairness of life. We all go through that, to some extent, when we are growing up.  One mark of maturity is that you grow out of that. The more you see of the world around you, the more you understand that "it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

Someday, maybe, they'll understand that.

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