This letter to the editor concerns the editorial “‘Occupying’ won’t get you anywhere” printed in Vol. 100, No. 16 issue of the Optimist published Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2011.
I’ve been dismayed by ACU students twice this week.
First, when I read an Abilene Reporter-News article quoting ACU business students as they dismissed the plight of those posting on the “We Are the 99 Percent” blog as a problem of entitlement and too-high expectations. One woman was quoted comparing their expectations to her own childhood dreams of walking on the moon.
Second, when I read the editorial in Wednesday’s Optimist, describing the Occupy Wall Street movement as “throwing a fit,” “immature” and “juvenile.”
Both of these cases display a saddening lack of empathy and, especially in the editorial’s case, betray a disappointing failure to learn about the movement in question or the circumstances leading to its creation.
A quick review of the “99 Percent” blog (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com) at the time I write this letter reveals a 35-year-old woman working three jobs who cannot afford gas for her car; a 39-year-old with a chronic illness who, after paying his bills every month, has $25 left over; and a 16-year-old boy who works nights to help his parents pay their mortgage.
I would not consider any of these people “immature,” nor would I say they were “throwing a fit” for voicing their objection to the system that has left them in this situation. Their hopes appear to be well short of space travel; earning enough to pay for health insurance would seem to satisfy them.
I fear the ACU students whose voices have been heard on this topic are working with an inaccurate view of post-collegiate life, believing those who succeed have worked hard to do so while unthinkingly accepting the insidious corollary that those who have not been successful must not be working hard enough.
The reality is much more complicated, and much more sobering. Occupy Wall Street was created to give the victims of this reality a louder voice because, for far too long, our political leaders have failed to listen to them. I only hope ACU’s students will not make the same mistake.
Paul A. Anthony
Graduate student in history and theology