At least once a week I have to stop myself from writing on a Facebook friend’s wall, “Dear Facebook friend, I wish you weren’t being ignorant, but since you are, I wish you wouldn’t share your ignorance with the whole of your Facebook community.” I stop myself from writing comments like this because I doubt they would be productive. And this type of non-confrontation confrontation causes me anxiety that I, selfishly, prefer to avoid. The inevitable comment backlash often lasts for days, and, in my experience, those sharing dipshitted views never see the dipshittedness of their ways. So, what’s the point?
That said, today I got fed up”¦again. So, at the risk of becoming the person who responds to every obnoxious Facebook photo that gets posted and widely distributed, here’s the viral Facebook share that’s got me good and ticked-off today:
To provide full context, my ire isn’t totally directed at the picture itself (though the photo comparison provides a smugly dismissive and incomplete picture at best), it’s directed at the people who are posting it without so much as a passing mention of the privilege from whence they sprung while maligning the “wanting it all” free loaders with whom they simply can’t bear to identify.
The first person on my list of Facebook friends to “like” and then repost this added a comment to the effect of: this picture shows what’s effed up about the liberals and the future of our country. The person who posted this, as you might have guessed, wasn’t fighting in World War II at age 20, he was getting drunk in a fraternity on government-subsidized student loans. Shortly after graduating, he became disgruntled by his inability to get a government job in his particular field of study, the ever-noble field of finance. He then defaulted to his “backup plan” of working for his mother. He works for his mother’s company today. So, as you can probably imagine, it must be really irritating for him to be forced to coexist with young folks who “want it all,” since he had to crawl through the trenches of half-assing it through college and landing a job with the family biz. Yeesh. So far, none of the other people I know who’ve posted this to their FB pages have served in the military (like the Greatest Generation they so admire), nor did they do anything else particularly useful at the age of 20. But I suppose that’s the kind of thing that’s easy to forget, when you’re a rampant hypocrite who makes no effort to be even remotely self-aware or accountable for the bull you put out into the world.
To be sure, the photo side-by-side bugs me on its own. The photo to the left is of young men in uniform and it represents the extraordinary sacrifice made by young people during World War II. The photo to the right shows young people in an Occupy Wall Street setting holding signs outlining why they’re protesting. The caption under photo one reads, “20 Year Olds [sic] in 1944 Giving Everything,” while the caption under photo two reads “20 Year Olds [sic] in 2011 Wanting Everything.”
I agree that the sacrifice made by young soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in World War II was phenomenal, and I have nothing to say that would degrade that sacrifice. But I would like to point out that many of those who made that sacrifice did so not of their own idea, but because they were drafted (George Flynn’s 1993 book, The Draft, 1940-1973, details the registration during WWII of 50 million men from 18 to 45, the classification of 36 million, and the induction of 10 million). And those able to defer conscription were often among American’s most privileged. Because, well, as a society, we tend to find ways to make those less fortunate bear the brunt of everything painful, while the 1% gets to hang out being d-baggish. Which brings me back to the photo of the Occupy Wall Street young people: the protest signs carried in the photo read, “Power is for the people,” “Do not conseed [sic] to greed!” and “There is no need for violence and greed.”
Wanting it all, eh?
Sign one, Power is for the people. I’m at a loss as to how wanting the power in a democracy (something we fought mightily to preserve during WWII) to remain in the hands of the people and not in the hands of a small de facto ruling class is against the aims and values of those who fought on the side of the Allies in WWII.
Sign two, Do not conseed [sic] to greed! I’m also baffled at the notion that fighting against greed (the hallmarks of which are rapaciousness and corruption) would somehow run counter to efforts in WWII to shut down genocide, oppression, and criminal annexation.
The third and final sign, There is no need for violence and greed, also seems directly in line with the values represented in the World War II photo to the left, as those young military personnel fought against otherwise unchecked violence.
I don’t compare the aims of these two groups to suggest that World War II and Occupy Wall Street are similar, or that those who fought in World War II and those involved in the Occupy movements share a common challenge; I simply compare the values of the two, because: 1) that’s what the FB photo does; and 2) there’s nothing that inherently puts these two groups at odds with one another. To suggest these two groups are in obvious conflict is to promote a divide where division isn’t necessary.
Some may say I seek to divide with this blog post, but I would argue that a rebuttal intended to put into check one more attempt to oversimplify the Occupy Wall Street movement and the anger that rightly grows when the 99 is asked to pay for the sins of the 1 is more of a flashlight than a chisel.
It’s also worth noting that many of the Occupy Wall Street affiliates advocate for expanded veterans benefits while conservatives who claim to so dearly value our American military men and women seem to be just fine with stripping our vets of medical, psychological, and educational assistance (you know, welfare). And, by the way, World War II doesn’t belong to conservative America nor does it represent maintenance of the status quo.
Since when does wanting preservation of constitutionally protected rights, voting power, and democracy, as well as an end to corruption and unnecessary violence constitute an entitled attitude of “wanting it all”? Wanting these things equals wanting what our country is meant to represent.
If you’re looking for a whiner, a slacker, a do-nothing, a person who wants whatever s/he wants whenever s/he wants it, look no further than the people posting this photo on their FB pages, complaining about others exercising their rights to speak and peaceably assemble.
In other words, “Dear Facebook friends, kick rocks, mmkay.”