The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Tents, Money and Property

It came down earlier this week that the Occupy protestors will be removed from Olympic Park on Friday.  The protestors have been there since October and it will be interesting to see how they will leave the park (if they leave) later this week.  A couple of things..  first, it is really cold out there.  Like, way below zero Celcius.  When the sun is out.  Are you crazy? Second, you lost me on this whole thing.  I love a good protest against “the man”, but this one has become about camping in parks and tents and frankly, I don’t get it.  I know there is injustice in the world.  Tens of millions of children will go without clean drinking water today.  They will not have food to eat nor medicine for life threatening illnesses.  Girls are not sent to school because, well, they are girls.  Millions of children are on their own today because they have been orphaned by AIDS.   But, where was I?  Oh yeah, the tents.  Death to Capitalism and all that.

A funny story.  I can’t remember which occupy protest location this came from, (Vancouver? Calgary? Seattle?) but on Public Radio they interviewed a man about progress of the protest, a clash with police, their stance on fiscal policy, etc.  He went on about how capitalism takes advantage of those that do not have much, the growing gap between the “have’s” and the “have not’s” and how we should not be so self-centered and concerned about private property.  So far, I was with him, because let’s be honest, we (meaning our society) have some pretty f*cked up priorities.  I was ready for more, ready to pitch my tent (Okay, I don’t have one, but I was ready to sign on to the cause).  Then he continued to go on about how the police had confiscated his tent and he wanted it back.  Because, after all, it was HIS TENT, bought with HIS MONEY, and HIS PROPERTY.  No one else has the right to just take it!  Interesting.  So, if it were my tent that you needed and I were wealthy, (which I am not, so don’t get any ideas), and you took it, that is Okay, but because it is your tent and they are the police, its’ not?  You lost me. 

From where I am sitting, it seems that Adam Carolla may be right when he says this is all about envy and feeling underappreciated.  (be warned, his youtube rant is really good, but he drops the f bomb alot)  Just because some people have more stuff that you does not mean that you can pout in your tent in a camp somewhere downtown where you cannot afford to live because you are having trouble finding a job in a shitty economy.  The fact that the powers that be on Wall Street may be corrupt is not news, it is a constant filed under “duh”.  You have not uncovered anything new here.  

I have a piece of advice for whomever out there.  If you do not like your current situation, figure out a way to change it.  When you don’t like the way a company is run because they are homophobes or bigots or just plain jackwagons, start your own company with your own idea and create a culture of inclusion, acceptance and niceness.  Oh, yeah, and be sure you have a solid business plan to be profitable.

Fight fire with fire.  If you don’t like a businesses practices, like say, they won’t sell a Tshirt with a girl proclaiming herself a presidential candidate because it goes against your “family values” policy, yet will sell guns and ammo to whomever, don’t shop there.  If you agree that pizza is not a vegetable or that fast food should not be marketed to kids because it is making them fat, spend your money at a local grocery store.  If you think that pornography is degrading to women and should not be printed, don’t buy it.  Like it or not, its capitalism.  If you don’t like something, no one is forcing you to buy it.  The only reason there are so many fast food joints everywhere is because they are profitable.  Big box whatever stores are popping up everywhere because they are profitable.  If you don’t want to participate in their profitability, shop somewhere else, make your own food, go to a local farmer’s market.  You get the idea.

There is always a choice.  It may not be an easy one, but there is always a choice.

That felt good.  Prepare for more rants.  I have to refill my coffee.  Which, by the way, was organically grown in SE Asia on a sustainable farm, using fair wages, imported to an independent coffee roaster and sold by a locally-owned business.  Because that is my choice.

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10 thoughts on “Tents, Money and Property

  1. kristen on said:

    very nicely written. And I agree on all counts. I do so enjoy your posts.

  2. Heather on said:

    Agree 100% although I never was “with them” – to me, this is all about sense of entitlement- why does anyone think life is fair and that they SHOULD be able to not pay back school loans and have a job simply because they live in the United States and not for any other reason?
    And how does sitting in a park help??
    I am enjoying my coffee this morning too- it’s from Target(coconut macaroon-damn good!!!)~~~~

  3. Sorry Berger – you know me I have to always put in my 2 cents…there are quite a few economists who agree with the basic principles that the whole Occupy thing started with – google it. Namely lack of controls that caused this whole economic crises that we are in – that the middle class bears the tax burden and loses income and wealth every year while the rich pay less taxes and get richer…there are studies and reports everywhere which show this and which show that in tough times the wealthy hang on to what they have and do not generally spend and reinvest like is often propounded as a reason for the breaks they get…they do it in prosperous times in greater amount but in lean – not so much. That being said, I am not sure that many of the campers even get this and I have no idea how camping in the cold will help…it seems ridiculous to me and waste of time…although I (and apparently the rest of the country) have no other ideas. If all they intended to do is draw attention to the issue – then I guess, but again in my opinion they just look crazy and not at all a unified driven watch group who relies on facts and a plan (but then again, in this policitcal climate who really fits that bill.) As for fighting fire with fire – I get you and I am with you, to an extent – take food for an example…one of the big problems is that the crappy food is cheaper! That is why obesity is rising among the poor, especially children. Face it – a happy meal is cheap. It is also quick and easy for those who do not have the luxury of even taking the time to make meals because they run between part time jobs – and there are lots of people in this economy who do that now because they have lost full time and try to make up income with two crappy part-time jobs. I get what you are saying, but I dont think it is as easy as just making a decision to buy organic or walk away from someone/something you dont agree with. Some people have no options. You are I are fortunate, we can pay for produce, private schools etc. I dont think that it is always lack of effort or envy. Some people are just down and out – not for lack of trying and I dont just mean the poorest of the poor – so maybe that deserves some attention other than to tell them they have not worked hard enough or are just whiners. I interviwed a woman a week ago with excellent credentials and work experience who had been out of work for 3 years. She was volunteering, interviewing all the time, and going back to school. Her UI was gone and she was about to have nothing…she said that she feels that the media portrays people like her as lazy and not doing enough…does it? Is that what we as a country think? I dont know, but maybe that is a reason for some people to complain. When I drive my kids to and from school I go down State St. in MKE past the food line at St. Bens. The people in line there are not just the street people I used to see – there are families and kids…sometimes I pass money to some of them when I am stopped at the light. My $10 is gonna buy them nothing at Whole Foods though….I’m guessing more like chips, hot dog and a soda at the gas station.

    • BC, Thanks for the comment. I love talking about this stuff with you! I think we agree.. I am in agreement with the principles that started this whole movement, I just want to know what the plan is for after they take down capitalism. And you are right, these are not simple problems with simple solutions. I just tire of seeing the person in the protest carrying a large McCafe while screaming down with capitalism. Is McDonalds (love it or hate it) not the poster child for a good, capitalistic business plan? I guess I am failing to make the connection between the camping in parks and how to correct the corruption, fix the economy, feed the poor, educate all children, etc. If the purpose of the protests was to bring attention to the problem, consider it done. But what now? The tents have been taken down in Calgary, peacefully and without incident, btw, so now what? What’s the plan?

  4. I also wanted to say that if you are flush its easy to say that others are just envious….I mean Carolla is not exactly strapped for cash…

  5. I am sending you a FB message to tell you what else my interviewee said…as a fellow HR professional you will get a kick out of it!

  6. Leslie Walter on said:

    I really liked your blog. I am with you I don’t get the whole occupy group and their protests. I have sort of lost interest. There’s a lot that happens in life that we can dwell on, or look to make it better…

  7. Yes, you know my first thought when reading this? Good on you!! I totally agree with you.

  8. When are you running for office?

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