I write as a detached observer who can witness how the remnants of Occupy mobs are still agitating and causing problems in our nation’s capital and at other locations, although in Washington they are probably regarded as a welcome distraction from failed current policy. If these people are eating, it is because they are being fed with goods bought, transported and prepared by others. Their housing consists of tents put up on public or private land, and, as far as most people can see, this constitutes criminal trespass.
Similarly, free medical care is a misnomer, as someone has to be paying for it in one way or another if it is of any worth at all, because goods and services of value do not fall from the sky as manna once did upon the ancient Israelites.
Concerning the so-called libraries at Occupy sites, they contained vintage counterculture propaganda of the same tired, worn-out chorus of entitlement that was self-serving to a degree which might have made the late Joseph Goebbels blanch with envy.
As far as understanding the nature of Occupy, I believe that I have substantial reason to suspect that those with the resources and leisure to organize and demonstrate on Martha’s Vineyard at any time of the year, most likely are somewhat closer to the one per cent rather than to the so-called 99 per cent.
While the myriad misfortunes that average people can experience are heartbreaking in the extreme, the United States represents the best example of equal opportunity that can be found anywhere in the world, but it is a gigantic departure from reality to expect or demand equality of outcome. People make choices, and if these are not the best, then consequences ensue, so if someone chooses not to have health insurance, they are assuming a consequential risk.
When does it become incumbent upon the responsible to underwrite the irresponsible? Nonetheless, we have Medicare, Medicaid, EBT cards, Mass Health, WIC, and a host of other programs which form a long litany. My aunt was a social worker in New Bedford for 42 years and during her tenure, she saw every abuse of the system imaginable.
However, I wish the well-intentioned members of Occupy MV only the best in their efforts, despite it being said that the highway to hell is paved with good intentions. But I find it worrisome when a degree of comfort exists in having the end justify the means, which usually has ominous results, since the Occupy movement is definitely not a peaceful one.
Most curious of all is why Occupy directs its rage against private business, and not at the government which bailed out the banks, bailed out Wall Street, has been completely out of control for many years, and demands more and more of our income in the form of ruinous taxation, to the point where generations that have yet to be born will be saddled with unfathomable debt as we spend our way into oblivion. There is nothing more extensively greedy than government, with its grasping paw being firmly ensconced in all of our pockets as it digs further and further for revenue to redistribute, with the pattern being never to lower taxes, but always to raise someone else’s tax burden.
Phony populism does not enhance the dignity of the individual American citizen, but instead it puts the apparatus of government before the individual, as it looks toward Washington to be the universal answer to each and every problem in existence. The power that government has in our lives is already fearsome enough.
I certainly expect to hear or read that Occupy MV will have more meetings, especially since this is an important election year, and given the sentiments of Island politics, the organizers will have a ready-made sympathetic audience at hand, especially among older participants. This fact was emphasized in a recent letter to the editor, which stated that the first meeting did not consist of a younger group of people.
Perhaps at one of these future meetings, a tie-dyed blue fairy godmother will materialize, sprinkle the assemblage with pixie dust and then, with a flourish of her enchanted wand, whisk everyone back to the 1960s, where all of them may recapture the heady days of their evaporated youth, and feel that they are once again part of something much larger than themselves, and live happily ever after.
I do wish them well.
Michael F. Fontes lives in West Tisbury.