Skip to comments.They are Just Soft Whiners
Posted on 11/21/2011 7:31:44 AM PST by Kaslin
It wouldnt shock anyone who knows me to hear that Im not favorably disposed to the Occupy Wall Street crowd. But my opinion was reinforced while reading the latest novel by my favorite author, Philip Roth. Anyone who reads Nemesis would quickly conclude that the entire Occupy generation is a bunch of soft, overindulged whiners.
Although fictional, Nemesis accurately describes conditions in Newark, New Jersey, toward the end of World War II. While many brave Americans were overseas risking their lives to fight fascism, the home front was battling the scourge of polio that was devastating the nations youth. The novel takes place during the summer months, when risks were highest and fear consumed large segments of the community. People had to endure sweltering heat in cramped apartments, constantly challenged by the dual tragedies of war and disease.
By the time I was born (in 1953), polio was still ravaging American children. The year before, polio had its worst outbreak: 58,000 cases, 3,145 dead, thousands paralyzed, and parents everywhere utterly petrified. I vividly remember the never-ending line to receive my sugar cube with the vaccine created by Jonas Salk, aka the miracle worker.
The next challenge faced by my generation was the war in Viet Nam. Theres little doubt that this war was the principal catalyst for the tumultuous years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The war was over by the time I graduated college, but it had become dismally evident to me that many of my generation had nowhere near the character and courage possessed by our parents. We were, in fact, getting soft. Unfortunately that was nothing compared to the Occupy crowd, who saunter from their air-conditioned homes to their air-conditioned cars to their air-conditioned classrooms with their faces buried in smart phones, texting away to their friends about their fantasy football team or the results of Dancing with the Stars. Many look with disdain at the burger-flipping jobs my peers took while working their way through high school and college. Theyre too busy with sports and clubs to work, unless its an internship for a group that is saving the earth or the whales or the smelt fish in fact, saving everything except their parents money. To say that they havent faced adversity and that they are an abundantly indulged generation severely understates the matter. Of course, there are exceptions in every generation: Athletes who live the principle of sacrifice for their team. There are the engineering and science majors that face demanding curriculums in order to earn good jobs. And, most obviously, there are the large numbers of young Americans who put their lives on the line by volunteering to defend the country in the armed services.
Separate out these remarkable, goal-oriented young men and women and ignore the crazies and anarchists who have capitalized on the situation and what you have left are the young Americans of the Occupy generation, a group of people who went through college expecting (yes, expecting) that upon graduation, they would be rewarded with a job where they would continue to be pampered. When they left the protective nest of academia and walked into an economic downturn that didnt have a big fat job with a big fat paycheck and big fat benefits, they decided it was the mystical rich of America the 1% who were at fault. The absolutely hilarious part comes from them completely ignoring that, because they live in America, they are part of the worlds 1%. They ignore that the reason theyre not part of Americas 1% is because they havent worked for it. And they really ignore the fact that the scholarships and loans they received are the product of the hard work, contributions, and taxes of the 1% that they both hate and/or envy. Despite their college educations, they display an embarrassing lack of knowledge in economics and government. They demand bailouts from their student loans just like Wall Street was bailed out, utterly clueless to the fact that Wall Street paid back the money with interest. They implore the government to create more equality in America, completely oblivious to the following facts: In the last 50 years government has grown from 27% of GDP to 37%; and, during that time, almost 50% of Americans have stopped paying income taxes, while the top earners bear an ever-growing share of the tax burden. And yet despite this blatant redistribution of wealth, income inequality in America has skyrocketed. Maybe they should correlate those facts and figure out that its probably government, not Wall Street, thats the cause of rising inequality just like government was the root cause of the housing crisis.
So what is our reaction to dealing with these overindulged youths when they decide to protest? We indulge them some more. They go to a park in New York and have a Love-in. The Mayor doesnt give them the boot while other people supply free food and clothing. In a little known fact not reported in the mainstream press, Mayor Bloomberg has recruited a team of mothers to fluff their pillows and tuck them in at night after making them hot chocolate. Finally Bloomberg decides that recruiting all these volunteer mothers is too hard so he gives the kids the boot. Meanwhile, our babysitter-in-chief Barack Obama panders to the group by changing the rules to relieve them of the responsibility of paying their first financial obligation their student loans.
What they need to do is take one of the jobs that exist in America. Yes, there are a whole lot of them, but those jobs are beneath these kids. I understand there are crops to be picked in Alabama and California because illegal aliens are scarce. Or maybe they could work at a donut shop or a McDonalds. But thats not going to happen because these kids have expectations and their food has always just appeared in the refrigerator provided by magic elves of course.
We are all delighted to live in a society where our children are no longer fearful of diseases like polio or smallpox. Its wonderful that they can get an education in a cozy environment, and we certainly dont want to see them marching off to war. But someone needs to slap these kids across the head and remind them they should be thankful every day that they live in the United States of America. Or maybe take away their Smartphones and have them actually converse with another human being. That would be fun to see.
I remember my sugar cube as well. We were among the first to get the vaccine as we were in a Pittsburgh suburb and Salk did his work out of Pitt.
I’ll never understand why he didn’t receive the Nobel Prize for it.
My best friend in childhood was a victim of polio. Her legs were brutally scared from all the operations.
Philip Roth is a wonderful writer. I’m going to Amazon now to order “Nemesis.”
When I left the protective nest (blahblahblah) in 1988, I started out taking any temp job that paid more than it cost to drive to the work site. Then I got a permanent job as a secretary, then a night job in a law firm. I moved up in both jobs while putting my husband through college, so that by the time I was 28, like an average "occupier," I had two children, a husband with an electrical engineering degree and a civil service job, no debt, and a raging case of radical conservatism.
I consider myself fortunate to have missed epidemic diseases, thanks to people like Dr. Salk, who invented vaccines, and like my parents, who saw that I received them.
I remember the sugar cube as well. I also remember my mother getting extrememly upset at me jumping in rain puddles because she thought I was going to get polio! Jumped in every puddle I could find until I was about 7 years old!
The story of Jonas Salk is inspirational:
He was born in New York City to parents from Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant families. Although they themselves did not have much formal education, they were determined to see their children succeed...When he was 13, Salk entered Townsend Harris High School, a public school for intellectually gifted students. Named after the founder of City College of New York (CCNY), it was, wrote Oshinsky, "a launching pad for the talented sons of immigrant parents who lacked the moneyand pedigreeto attend a top private school." In high school "he was known as a perfectionist...who read everything he could lay his hands on", according to one of his fellow students. ...With the hopes of the world upon him, "Salk worked sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, for years...", wrote Denenberg.
I contracted polio in 1956 and missed two months of the first grade. Lucky for me it was a mild case, but 50% of the nerves in my back were destroyed and I had to have weekly therapy for over 10 years.
To this day, I still get what I call “polio” headaches and my back burns like it is on fire when I bend over to do something like washing the dishes or pulling weeds.
By coincidence, the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire on HBO features a cute little girl that contracts polio with paralysis of her legs and describes the panicked, desperate response of her parents and other adults with children.
I’m so sorry you had to contract that harsh disease. It does seem to be a lifelong problem for survivors. God Bless!
I think I was deterred from soft whining because I was close to my grandparents, who told me many tales of what life was like during the Depression and WW II as I was growing up.
This current generation has no such direct tie to those times. And the results are not encouraging.
Hopefully they grow up. Eventually.
I remember Grandma's story well. Her dad was an 8th grade dropout but very smart. In one day he lost his job, had a partially built house, banks closed, had a wife and six kids, and he went home and went to bed because he didn't know what to do. He later regrouped, put his skills to work, invented a balance testing machine, started a business and got by. If he sold one of those things a month or so, they'd be alright. Another Grandma story was when her mom brought out dinner. "It's not cat. It's rabbit."
My dad's side of the family grew up financially poor as well. I didn't, but learned from it. Not from talk, but by example in how he lives his life. He and all of his siblings (mostly boomers, couple gen-x'ers as there's 20 years difference) have or had successful careers.
I'm just glad most, if not all of the younger cousins tend to be the exception to the rule in this generation. Most of them also worked during college as well. Irony is that I was the late bloomer there and paid for it in my mid 20's until I decided to go into business for myself since my resume sucked. Best decision I ever made. What I learned is that I should have gone into business about five years sooner.
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