Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What are Americans Really Entitled To?

To my readers, friends, & followers, in sharing this posting by Joe Klock, perhaps I'm officially abandoning my "no politics" rule but Joe loquaciously raises several points: the perception of these Wall Street protesters by us fellow American residents, and the pursuit vs. entitlement of "happiness".

Personally, Wall Street is not perfect, but if there are concerns, I would recommend to these protesters--work hard, get inside the companies, offer positive ideas and expose wrongdoings and blow that whistle. Freedom of Speech is powerful but when that speech is drowned by frustration of closed and clogged streets, fear by pedestrians to walk past an entanglement with protesters and police and to witness a once-clean area littered with trash,  "actions speak louder than words".

By: Joe Klock Sr.

Okay, so maybe OWS (Occupy Wall Street) deserves recognition as a legitimate movement, but so does "Number Two," and neither function furthers the cause of understanding between the have-more and the have-less segments of American society.

As a survivor of hand-to-mouth family life, maltuition, scrimping and skating on the thinnest of budgetary ice, I can understand the resentment, anger and/or envy of those people, both young and old, who struggle to keep their heads above the water of poverty in full view of the sybaritic shores inhabited by the well-to-do.

Editorial note: The foregoing sentence is, to be sure, long enough to have drawn a lecture from my Jesuit mentors, but it just spilled out and, anyway, said what I wanted to say.

What I also want to say is that I share the OWS folks' disapproval of the bloated incomes enjoyed by a relatively few fat cats in executive suites, on sporting fields and/or among the ranks of happenstantial heirdom.

However, with the exception of those whose gains are ill-gotten, that is the price some citizens must pay for living in a democracy that is driven (and blessed) by free enterprise.

The Declaration Of Independence claimed for us the right to life, liberty and the "pursuit" of happiness, the first two of these being birthrights enjoyed by all.

Happiness, however, was not a promise from our founders and was not intended to be a governmental guarantee, and neither was economic success.

Some, it was contemplated, would earn fat-cat status, some would fall into it, and, inevitably, it would elude the rest.

All Americans were promised only the right to pursue happiness - and, implicitly, a prosperous lifestyle - a fact seemingly seen as unseemly by the OWS drumbeaters.

While they legitimately exercise their entitlement to life and liberty, they appear to feel that they have a constitutional right to share the luxuries of those who have more, and that they might acquire that "entitlement" by camping out, shouting slogans and making demands.

Meanwhile, although they are of one voice in expressing discontent with the economic status quo, they are towers of babble when it comes to articulating exactly why they are entitled to the handouts they demand.

Life is a birthright which none of us did anything to earn, but for which we owe thanks to an industrious and competitive spermatozoon, a cooperative ovum and a hospitable Mom.

Our guaranteed liberty at birth is due either to our American parentage or to the mere fact that we "got borned" here in the USA- again something we did nothing to earn.

Aside: That "automatic citizenship" conferred on every baby delivered on U.S. soil, including those born to illegal immigrants, is a benefit granted in no other developed nation on earth and amounts to a reward for breaking the law, but let's defer that outrage for a future rant.

The pursuit of happiness - as opposed to an entitlement thereto - is quite another concept, but one not recognized as such by the unruly jeering sections seen in the media.

Granted, they have a right to complain and to demonstrate, so long as they do so without interfering with the lives, liberties and pursuits of others.

This would preclude, ipso facto, glutting and trashing public areas, peeing in public streets, disturbing the peace, destroying property and disrupting the normal activities of people with productive things to do.

Absent these symptoms of civility, the noisy, malodorous, undisciplined and omnidirectional protestors against godknowswhat come across as a disoriented mob of self-indulgent whiners looking for the "something-for-nothing" that legitimately is due only to the genuinely helpless in real life.

Although I don't offer it as a flawless analogy, many of us who are now long in the tooth and who have gotten fat with our assets were once flat on our asses, but did more than just squat in public places and wail like egoistic crybabies.

I wholeheartedly join you OWSers in believing that those whose gains were ill-gotten should be stigmatized, penalized and in extreme cases, penurized (a la Madoff).

Meanwhile, I offer you this advice, without apology: Take a break, take a breather, maybe take a bath, and then take a job, even if a demeaning one, rather than simply demand a share of those who are better off than you.

Hate to break this to you, gang, but there ain't no such thing as free lunch, unless you're truly unable to work for it.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~