Occupy Land: Having Skin in the Game, a Neighborly Consideration

What is the occupy movement full of?  Passion.  What is missing?  Compassion.

This whole movement is NOT about helping the poor, compassion for the disenfranchised, trying to build a better tomorrow or anything of the sort.  It has strictly to do with me, myself and I.

For most:

It is NOT about tearing down a corrupt Wall Street, it is instead, “Give me one of those fat-cat jobs.”  People are out of work.  The frustration is understandable, but why disrespect and tear down the very people who can provide the jobs?  The response might be “respect must be earned.”  True enough, but so must everything else in this life.  No one is required to give a person a job simply because that person exists.  Existence is not a virtue.  Respect must be earned, yes, and jobs must be earned as well.  But in Occupy land it is “Give me.”

It is NOT we care about the poor working class people, it is the teachers unions, public employees unions and other unions demanding theirs.  Local, city and state governments for multiple reasons made promises they could not possibly keep.  So?  Too bad.  Give me, and more (it is always more).  And after I get myself and my family taken care of, if the poor working class person next door does not have enough left to live on, too bad!  I don’t care about them.  I only care about me and the promises (fair or coerced) that were made to me and mine.  Again, it is “Give me.”

It is NOT we hate the rich, it is instead, “I want to be one of the rich, so give it to me.”  Any one of the 99% that was given the opportunity or better yet, handed a check to become part of the 1% would likely go home and not think again about the occupy mess.  Sadly, perhaps, but no one is required to hand out 1% checks because there is not enough money to go around.  In Occupy land, though, the sense is, so what?  As long as I get mine.  “Give me.”

People bought houses they could not afford from multi-million dollar mansions to $300,000 dollar homes in nice neighborhoods bought by people who could hardly afford starter homes.  Bad decisions.  Blame Wall Street.  Blame the banks.  Blame the government.  Blame everyone but the self.  So who should be responsible?  In Occupy land responsibility isn’t the ultimate issue.  The issue is getting and keeping the house for free.  The issue is debt forgiveness.  And who should pay for this?  The attitude is, “That is not my problem, just give me.”

The same is true for people who lived for years well above their means, shuffling the credit cards like Vegas dealers looking for the winning hand.  The demand is for debt forgiveness.  And who should pay for this?  “That is not my problem, just give me.”

The same is true for students who took out massive student loans to study subjects for which there were zero job prospects.  The demand is for debt forgiveness.  And who should pay for this?  “That is not my problem, just give me.” 

Now a hint of reality for Occupy land.  Wall Street simply does not have any magic money to pay for all this or all these demands.  If every penny was taken from the “Rich” in this nation, and every penny of corporate profit was added, it would not be nearly enough to meet the demands and it would put millions out of work.  Not only would the unemployment lines be full of former rich people, but they would also be filled with workers without work as these corporations would be bankrupt and have to close their doors.  No business can run, stay competitive, keep up without some profit to put back into the business.  Magic wands don’t work.

Now another hint: The government does not have any magic money either.  No matter how the government is structured, republic, communist, capitalist, socialist, democracy, the only way ANY government can redistribute money to you is to take that money from someone else.  The only way ANY government can pay off your mortgage, credit debt, student loans is to take that money from someone else.  The only way ANY government can meet its way-over-the-line promises to the various unions is to take that money from someone else.

If you are content living in your home, given all you need to live on while your neighbors struggle to pay for their homes and families as well as yours, I cannot help you.  You may have passion about the unfairness of your debts, your lack of job and passion about the unfairness of the way wealth is distributed in this land; but until you develop some compassion for your neighbors whom you are demanding pay for it all, perhaps no one can help you.

And here is a final hint.  I understand you have no respect for the Wall Street fat cats who got rich while others got poor.  Yes, I will agree that respect must be earned.  But jobs also must be earned and yes, money must be earned and respect WILL be earned by those who recognize they made a mistake, learn from that mistake and do their best to make good on that mistake.  People worthy of respect pay their debts, with or without blaming others for their misfortune.

Look, I understand the Occupy movement is mostly symbolic.  I am sure most occupiers are not that stupid.  The plain truth is money transfer (redistribution) occurs naturally when money is earned and debts are paid over time.  There simply is not the money at any given moment to wipe out every debt and give everyone clean slates.  That way lies bankruptcy, scandal and ruin, as George Bailey said.  That way lies bread lines and soup kitchens and the kind of depression to make the last one look like a holiday.

But symbolic or not, I am concerned about the impetus for the movement, because it seems to me to be based on me, myself and I.  It is “Give me,” big time, and that underlines “I don’t care about you as long as I get mine.”

Here is a suggestion, if you care about your neighbors whom you are demanding pay for all of your stuff, go home and ask them directly, or better yet, decide to pay for your stuff yourself and encourage, maybe even help your neighbors do the same. 

If you don’t care about your neighbors and truly feel passionate about the “unfairness of life,” and maybe that you should have things handed to you because your very existence is a virtue, go home and get a gun.  Go from neighbor to neighbor demanding their money and thus cut out the government middle-man. 

In any case, try occupying your own skin instead of Wall Street for a bit.  I know you have passion about the things you believe in.  The question is, do you have compassion about your neighbors as well?

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