“Who Parented These People?” - Marybeth Hicks
By Dell Hill
There’s absolutely no way I can improve on this advice from Marybeth Hicks!
it an occupational hazard but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street
protesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”
a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political
ramifications of the “movement” – now known as “OWS” – whose fairyland
agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for
to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious
designs on “transformational” change in America who are using the
protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.
it’s not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question
but rather the fact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults.
There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly
have not passed along.
Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:
Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice – that everyone should be
treated fairly – is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which
our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the
same. Or, as Mick Jagger  said, “You can’t always get what you want.”
matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have
better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better
places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them,
others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in
hard work and perseverance and some find jobs on Wall Street and
eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.
Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college
degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots because
colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is
no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers
and “slow paths” to adulthood and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans
owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.
I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that
are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash
hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the
food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest
kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic
Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan
debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in
others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one
forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits
that don’t require loans or to seek technical or vocational training
that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals.
Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of
victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the
globe would die for – literally.
A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad
dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t
evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are
doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit
of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like
attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross,
you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you
are people who deem you irrelevant.
There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed
necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are
off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue.
Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If
you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s
not them. It’s you.
(© 2011 Marybeth Hicks)
Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 20 years and mother of four children, lives
in the Midwest. She is the author of The Perfect World Inside My Minivan
-- One Mom's Journey Through the Streets of Suburbia, a compilation of
her columns. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and
experiences that shape families nationwide. She currently writes a
column for the Washington Times. This column first appeared in and is
reprinted with permission from the Washington Times. Visit her Web site, www.marybethhicks.com or send e-mail to email@example.com.