Being a useful idiot myself when I was younger, I initially understood the anger of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and their desire to bring about change, even if I didn’t agree with who they were directing their anger toward. The more I heard these occupiers speak, though, the less understanding I became. Most aren’t so much looking to bring about purposeful change as they just want what they want, when they want it.
I found myself thinking about what my late father would say to these occupiers. My dad lived through both world wars and the Depression. His only recollections of World War 1, though, consisted of wondering why his lazy drunkard uncles weren’t fighting in the war, and an image of his deceased mother who had died during the Spanish Flu pandemic. His grandparents raised him after his mother passed. For whatever reason, his father never sent for him after he remarried. Dad quit school after the 7th grade to go to work driving a truck because he and his grandparents were starving to death. Dad also went to the CCC camps twice to provide food and home for himself and his grandparents. When he couldn’t go back to the CCC camps any longer, he did whatever job he could find. He was drafted and fought in
Europe and participated in D-Day. He was in Europe when his beloved grandmother passed. Upon returning to the states, he still took care of his grandfather, until the old man passed two years after the war ended.
Dad got a job in the federal government, married, joined a Masonic organization, became a church member, lost a son and had two daughters, took in his in-laws, cared for my partially bed-ridden mother and walked his girls down the aisle. He volunteered at church and through the Masons, and he was always available to help out a friend or stranger in need. He was a reliable judge of character and called things as he saw them. Dad worked part-time after retirement, spoiled his granddaughters, was stricken with dementia, and in one of the last lucid moments of his life, he held my mother’s hand as she passed. Fortunately for him, he never remembered her passing. We regularly told him she was getting her hair done or she had gone shopping, and he accepted those explanations for her absence. He himself passed peacefully two years after my mom.
So, what would my wise and seasoned dad say to the occupiers if he was here? First, he would shake his head in frustration. Then, he would tell them the following:
1. Quit your belly-aching and go get a job. Don’t be crying about how you can’t get a job in the field you studied in college. Take whatever job you can, and move if you have to. And don’t be so full of yourself that you believe you are above some jobs.
2. You don’t know what ‘doing without’ means.
3. I didn’t tell you to borrow all that money for college. That was your idea and yes, you still have to repay the loans. Welcome to the school of hard knocks.
4. Instead of only thinking about yourself, why don’t you go do something for someone else? There is always someone worse off than you who can use your help.
5. You want things to be fair? There is no ‘fair’ in this world. What there is is making the best you can with the hand you’re dealt. You pay your money and you take your chances.
6. More government is not the solution you want. Look to yourself for solutions.
It might sound harsh, and I rolled my eyes aplenty when I heard these sentiments coming from his mouth again and again. As a teen and young adult, I thought he was out of touch, and that things were different than when he was a boy. My dad was right all along, though. Some truths from the 1930’s were still true in the 1970’s and 80’s and are still true today. I pray the occupiers will open their minds enough to listen.