Saturday, November 5, 2011

Marybeth Hicks' "Viral" Column on OWS Protesters

This week, I received a "viral" email from my mom, which contained the pasted text from Washington Times columnist Marybeth Hicks' recent piece, titled "Some Belated Parental Advice to Protesters".   It was a funny and insightful column, which I forwarded to many of my friends.  (I even strategically included some of my liberal friends, whom I'm certain ignorantly support the OWS movement.)

Upon further research of Marybeth Hicks, I discovered that she is also an author of a book, titled "Don't Let The Kids Drink the Kool-Aid", and also that her article I had forwarded, was actually part three in a three part series.  All three of the articles are excellent, and are linked below, as well as her most recent column.  As the father of a 16 year old, I will also be reading her book, although I'm certain I already know what's in it, since it appears this brilliant author and columnist thinks a lot like me. ;-)

HICKS: Vision of a ‘just society’ is just plain funny


mrs. alfreds said...

Dear Marybeth Hicks,

I would like to respond to your article, "Belated Parental Advice To Protestors", with five things your mother should have taught you, but obviously didn’t, so I will.

1. “Life isn't fair”
No one, including OWS, expects life to be fair. Our mothers and/or fathers did teach us life isn't fair and we know that some people have natural abilities or plain old good luck that propels them further than anyone else. However, OUR parents, as opposed to yours, Mrs. Hicks, taught us that we should share and we should not cheat! If hard work and determination gives you a house in the Hamptons, then enjoy the traffic. But if you inherited three houses in the Hamptons from your wealthy parents, or if you were given a bonus for unloading junk bonds onto unsuspecting buyers, then something is obviously wrong with the system of distribution. Our parents taught us that you should earn the luxuries you acquire in life, and that you should not expect any hand-outs. The majority of America’s wealthiest citizens (also known as the 1%) were born rich. They didn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps or perfect their natural abilities to acquire wealth. When the rich become the super-rich and the poor keep getting poorer and more numerous, your argument that "you can't always get what you want" makes you sound like an ignorant, condescending parent.

2. “Nothing is ‘free’”
Actually, some things are free. Your basic premise is wrong. If you've never shared a "free of charge" moment with someone, or never received a gift of any sort from your loved ones that required nothing in return, then I not only feel annoyed by you, but sympathy for you. To think that there must be a monetary charge for everything in life and survival for only what is profitable, is a sickness of the mind and soul that originates from capitalism unchecked. This is one of the many things OWS is fighting against. Also, your choice of "placards" to argue against reveals your inability to debate the stated goals of OWS, which has targeted corporate greed, banking immorality and a corrupt political process. Linked by these stated goals, various individuals with various grievances or messages have joined OWS and some of those messages are more esoteric, like "Everything for everybody", while others are more concrete. To pick one of the more esoteric messages to debate is lazy journalism. There are placards that advocate universal education and healthcare and those things are no pipe dream as other countries have enacted these measures. They have costs, and would involve tax reform, and everyone at OWS is aware of this. However, not having education or healthcare has costs as well. You can add those costs to your police overtime and property repair invoice.

mrs. alfreds said...

3. “Your word is your bond”
Your word is your bond! I could not agree more Mrs Hicks. I personally have spent years paying off my student loans and am proud to announce that I am on my last thousand dollars! To imagine an amnesty given to those who still owe after I have paid mine off would be bittersweet, but why would a bail out of student loan debt be any worse than a bail out of banker loan debt or a bail out of an industry which is over-leveraged or facing bankruptcy? Both democrats and republicans have bailed out business, but not people. Why? And if the entity that owned a person's student loan forgave that person's debt, would that person be breaking his word if he didn't continue paying the forgiven debt? I don't think so. Jobs that pay a decent wage in our society tend to require a college degree. That’s why we took those loans out. We were trying to do what our parents told us to do, and I’m sure what you have told your children, go to college so you can get a good job. Quick note, no one would literally die to be a college student...because then they'd be dead. Logic fail Mrs. Hicks.

4. “A protest is not a party”
A protest can be whatever you want it to be! It can be a party, dancing, solemn silence, sitting, running, skipping or whatever goes against the grain. Have you ever been part of a protest Mrs. Hicks? I'm wondering why you are an expert on how protests should be. When a protestor says that the old ways of doing things are not working, even the old ways of protesting, what sense does it make to tell someone to protest more like you've seen it done before? Wanting OWS to be something that lacks fun or humor means you are unimaginative, humorless, and rigid, a perfect manifestation of the old way of thinking that has led us to this current economic, spiritual and cultural crisis. I think that you don't see as much as you think you do when you are making your mad dash from the hotel to the cab. Try to avoid mad dashes and look around, talk to people, read more and maybe you will learn more.

5. “There are reasons you haven't found jobs”
To judge a person solely by their appearance is a poor lesson to teach children, Mrs. Hicks. To ask someone with a Graduate Degree to work at McDonalds, just so they can say that have a job, rather than make a living that affords them to pay their student loans as they are bonded to do, is poor advice. They are better served joining OWS and changing the way things are done in their society. Some people don't care about the poor or homeless or disenfranchised. They can be excused as smelly, or high, or silly-looking. But some of us care about all people, and even if everything is OK in our lives, on our suburban street, we are less stable, safe or strong as Americans if so many of us languish in poverty or unemployment. 49 million Americans live below the poverty line. Were you aware of that, Mrs. Hicks? And since so much wealth is concentrated in so few, we at OWS will continue to do what OUR parents taught us to do, share with others and love our neighbors, even you Mrs. Hicks.
Bio-diversity is an acknowledged virtue. Diverse thinking is a virtue. Why is non-comformity not a virtue? I would argue the opposite. Conformity is not a virtue! Conformity leads to ignorance and genocide. The conformity of thought is what OWS is fighting against. Movements may not need leaders, as OWS has shown. Protesting in new ways, which may include dancing in the street, can lead to a national conversation, can lead to the elimination of bank fees, can lead to the exposure of police brutality. Protesting in new ways can also create fear of change in the hearts of average (or less than) middle-American, white middle-class moms with small minds and loud opinions.