It truly is not my intention to pile on with the many others who have been negative about your efforts. As a college professor, I have great respect for the fact that many of you are young and idealistic. You want to make a difference. You have hopes and dreams for the future and you’re finding your professional and financial options limited as of late. Some of you have legitimate gripes. Many of you are naive. Some of you are spoiled.
There are very powerful people who are working to use you for their own purposes. If you find that difficult to believe, read Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky. Study the influence his ideology has had on the current “occupier” of the White House.
To those of us who are getting up each day and going to work to make ends meet for our families and to keep our businesses afloat, your movement resembles a child throwing a temper tantrum. During a tantrum there is a great deal of noise and a tremendous flow of energy, but it accomplishes little else except to anger and frustrate those in the general vicinity of the one throwing the fit. (Tantrums do occasionally cause the breakage of things and, of course, that means money out of the pockets of those who support you.)
You complain about capitalism as you type on your laptop computers and peck at your i-pods, yet it’s capitalism that has brought you those technological innovations at a price you–or your parents–can afford. You rail against Wal-Mart and Target, yet these discount stores provide affordable goods to millions every day of lesser means. You rant about Macy’s and other premium department stores while wearing the preppy fashions that are their specialty. Your ranks are infected with rapists, anti-semites, and other unsavory characters. You sleep in tents while the elites among your leadership rest in the finest hotels. You say you represent the workers of our nation, yet those same workers are cleaning up your filth.
I wish I had your youthful energy. Truly, I do. I’d like to be your age again, but only if I could take my 51-year-old brain with me. That’s not going to happen, so let me share some middle-aged wisdom with you.
If you truly want to make a difference in a good way, I suggest you choose one or two items from the list below.
-Get your idealistic butt back into a classroom or training school
-Teach a child how to to do math, or how to read
-Volunteer at a hospital in your home town
-Do some repair work or painting for an elderly neighbor
-Work at a soup kitchen one day a week
-Give your mother a day off from housework or laundry
-Take your parents to dinner and say “thank you” for all they’ve sacrificed
-Read and study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
-Let the aforesaid reading guide the way you vote
-Attend your house of worship
-Get a job and give 10% of your pay to a charity
-Be part of a reading program for the blind
-Shake the hand of a man or woman in military uniform and say “thank you”
-Assist at a fundraiser for interreligious or interracial understanding
-Say hello to someone whose skin is a different color than yours
-Open the door for someone and smile as you do it
-Refuse to send text messages while driving a vehicle
-Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty
-Talk to the kid that everyone else thinks is strange
-Adopt a stray animal and care for it lovingly
-Get it right and march in front of Congress or the White House
-Study what happened to freedom and to the environment under socialism
-Pray for peace and pray for our country
Finally, remember that it is always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Love is not an emotion. It is a conscious, active commitment to the well being of another. If you want to occupy something, occupy the heart of a lonely person. Occupy the mind of a child who needs help with homework. Make a difference–a real difference that counts for something good!