Saturday, October 15, 2011

To Get a Little Political...

I came across this reposted on a friend's Facebook wall, who knows who originally posted it, but I was instantly taken to this because this is me. This is me.

I've never declared myself Democrat or Republican. I can be right-leaning on one issue and swing over to the left for the next one. My voter registration card states 'Independent'. I don't care what party you associate with, but I hope you can read what I'm about to write with an open mind.

When I was seventeen, I spent a summer working at a family services organization. They offered a variety of types of charity to help quite a range of people and it was my job to filter and direct this gambit of people when they called to the appropriate help. During my three months there, I met some very nice people who were the victim of circumstance, worked very hard to overcome it, and were very grateful for not only the help that was available but also to feel like they weren't alone. However, on the flip side, I met a lot of people who were not the victim of circumstance. They weren't really victims at all, they just wanted to see if we could make their lives easier. They were rude and horrible to me when I would screen them out. Do you think it's really fair to drive to our office in your own car and yell at the seventeen year old girl behind the desk about the fact that the discount apartments we had were not far enough on the west side of town for you? I'm sorry. Let me hang up on the abused pregnant 19 year old on the phone so we can try to find you a cheaper apartment. Since then, I am very skeptical of people who think they are deserving of help. Those who are deserving of help never think that they are.

My senior year of high school, I needed two classes to graduate. I took seven, all of them AP. I applied for just about every scholarship I could. I went to an in-state school on full scholarship. Besides my parents covering textbooks, I never asked them to help me pay for school. I lived at home rather than the dorms. I worked jobs grading papers. I finally moved out my senior year to a hole in the wall apartment straight out of the 70's with a roommate. No air conditioning, no internet, no cable. Due to my hard work in high school, I loaded up my last semester with graduate level classes. I was able to get my masters a semester early. I graduated debt-free and with enough money in the bank to start saving for the downpayment on my house.

Every day on campus, I would walk behind someone complaining to their friends on a smart phone, with a Coach purse holding their laptop, hair dyed and nails done, drinking a Starbucks, bitching about how they didn't have enough money and their parents weren't helping them enough.

When I was in New York a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally walked through the Occupy Wallstreet protesters at the beginning of their campaign. You wouldn't have know they were protesters unless someone had told you. One of them was wearing a hula skirt and playing a ukulele and several of them were hula-hooping. I still couldn't tell you what their end game is. What do they want? Do they want to take over Wallstreet? Do they want to get rid of stocks? Do they want to socialize the stock market? Do they want the brokers to give them jobs? Who knows?

I know that I have been very lucky to be raised with the luxuries I had and that life has been good to me, but I've also worked hard to make the most of it. I have no pity for these protesters. Move to a less expensive city. Apply for jobs unrelated to communications or art history or women's studies. Realize that when you are unemployed, no job is beneath you. Cut off cable. Paint your own nails. Don't buy a house you can't really afford.

And most importantly, stop feeling so entitled. Get off your ass and earn it. The opportunity is there and it's not Wallstreet's fault you aren't taking it.

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