HICKS: Some belatedparental advice to protesters

By Marybeth Hicks-The Washington TimesTuesday, October 18, 2011

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Streetprotesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”

As aculture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political ramifications ofthe “movement” – now known as “OWS” – whose fairyland agenda can be summarizedby one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.”

Thanks totheir pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on“transformational” change in America who are using the protesters likebedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it’snot my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather thefact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some cruciallife lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then,are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their childrenbut obviously didn’t, so I will:

• Lifeisn’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.”

No matterhow you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills,talents or connections that land them in betterplaces. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, othersplay the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work andperseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses inthe Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupidquestion.

• Nothingis “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free”health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’toperate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap foryour meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I’mpointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free:overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs tofixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicablyappears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with realdollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

• Your wordis your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you areadvocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are madebased on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; youare free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seektechnical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and yourongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is nota state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people aroundthe globe would die for – literally.

• A protestis not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cabto the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreelfootage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attentionand fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’tdance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissancefestival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem youirrelevant.

• There arereasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Yourtattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercingsand dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake ofnonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of collegegraduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror andface the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.

• MarybethHicks is the author of “Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting theLeft’s Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom.”Find her on the Web at www.marybethhicks.com.

Reprinted withpermission from Washington Times


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