Much has been made of the people who have taken to the streets to protest a myriad of what they perceive to be social and economic woes that have befallen America.
They seem to have no clear purpose; the complaints range from the price of gas, to student loans. The protesters talk about corporate greed; yet they communicate using their IPhones, while listening to their IPods. When Steve Jobs died they hailed him as a sort of iconic hero. They shed tears for a man that was worth billions, money earned from the cornered market he helped develop. Perhaps a prime example of the kind of corporate greed the protestors are railing about.
Most of these protestors are youth and some would say quite disillusioned when it comes to some very important facts.
Meanwhile half a world away, other young people are enduring hardships that would make the park in New York look like a cake walk. These young people have no illusions, they knew exactly what they were getting into; they endure long nights in cramped bunkers, no matter the weather, wondering if they will even be alive to see the sunrise. Not all will.
These youth are represented by people such as 20 year old Tony J. Potter. TJ as he is known to his friends never took to the streets in protest. Instead TJ, like thousands of others his age volunteered to ‘defend the Constitution of the United States’. These youth, who think themselves immortal, fight our battles perhaps never understanding the full measure of the consequences. Yet they willingly volunteer to go forth anyway. At no time did they protest against their government, never uttered complaints or railed against the ills of society real or imagined.
Back in the homeland, thousands of others go to bed each night worrying about someone they love far away. They hold fast to the memories of the last time they saw their loved one. A loved one who left with words such as ‘I’ll see you soon’, or ‘I’ll write every day, I promise’.
People like Emily Potter. Emily and TJ were high school sweethearts and married soon after they graduated. Emily is expecting their first child soon. But that child will never meet the man who helped give it life; TJ was killed in Afghanistan on September 9th in Paktia Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by insurgents. This was eight days before the young protestors in New York took to the streets and the very same day that TJ was laid to rest on the 17th of September.
The Occupy Wall Street protestors think themselves; yet never realizing, or even acknowledging the fact that they can protest without fear because people like TJ are willing to raise their right hand.
For inspiration perhaps they need only look to another group of Occupiers 244 miles to the south. There in Arlington National Cemetery are row upon row of men and women who gave their lives so we could all be free; free to protest or free to speak our minds. They now occupy some of the most hallowed ground in America. Here there are no racial or ethnic lines, they are all as one. That’s the way it should be.
America has become a nation divided. The Left and Right have taken up sides and yell so loudly that no one can be heard. The Occupy movement and the Tea Party both spend more time occupying themselves with trying to get their message heard without even trying to hear what the other has to say. Both sides need to simply shut up for a change and work towards the compromises that will fix the ills that this fractured country suffers from.
Those who occupy Wall Street need to look at the group of Occupiers who not only defended their right to protest, but who have no political party, no agenda and gave their lives for everyone’s freedom. They are black and white, Native American, Asian; from all walks of life and cultures. Yet they share the same single, simple white headstone that signifies them as perhaps the greatest ‘Occupiers’ America has ever known.