When you are young, it seems like everything that is happening to you and that you are experiencing is happening for the first time. And for you....it is. The first time. The first kiss, the first time you have sex, the first shooting star, your first foray into politics. The experiences have power and are unique because they are happening to YOU. And as we all know, when you are young. you are the center of the universe.
The Occupy kids are full of sound and fury and mostly sincere in their efforts and feel like their actions are going to change the world. I well remember the feeling. Kids 40 and 50 years ago felt the same way. Vietnam protests, marching on government buildings, civil rights....even the violence are all re-runs this time around. Same slogans, same energy.....same.
Recessions: the economy sucks today. Guess what kids....it sucked pretty bad 30 to 40 years ago during the Carter era. We thought it was the end of the economic world then. To the adults of that time, it was just another milder re-run of the Great Depression.
Another way to put it is: as you get older suddenly your parents seem smarter.
Life is a series of re-runs. Nothing new under the sun. Even the Romans experienced the same social ills that we are experiencing now.
"Rome--SEPTEMBER 4, 476AD.
Rome falls. In the centuries preceding, Rome had been overrun with illegal immigrants: Visigoths, Franks, Anglos, Saxons, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Lombards and Vandals. They first assimilated, many working as servants, but soon came so fast they did not learn the Latin language.
Though militarily superior and marching on advanced road systems, the highly trained Roman Legions were strained fighting conflicts worldwide, and eventually troops had to be brought home from the frontier outposts, such as Britain.
Visigoth King Alaric, Vandal King Geiseric, Attila the Hun, and finally the barbarian King Odoacer, committed terrorist attacks, wiping out whole cities, until Rome itself was eventually sacked and looted.
Rome had been weakened by a large trade deficit, having outsourced its grain production to North Africa, and when the Vandals captured North Africa, Rome did not have the resources to retaliate.
Citizens of Rome were kept distracted with violent entertainment in the Coliseum and Circus Maximus. The Roman Emperor kept citizens appeased with welfare and free bread.
One Roman commented:"Those who live at the expense of the public funds are more numerous than those who provide them." Tax collectors were "more terrible than the enemy."
Rome was crippled by huge government bureaucracies and enormous public debt."
It doesn't mean that just because these same things occur over and over that we shouldn't try to make a difference. The Civil Rights Movement certainly did make a difference. What these repeating patterns or re-runs mean, is that we need to pay attention and learn from our mistakes.
To the OWS kids.....you really aren't the center of the universe and you are not unique.
Been there, done that and still have the ragged tee shirt to prove it.