NOTE: A thread has recently developed on my Facebook Wall.  Several people — including one friend, “Pepper” have made some very good points.  Too good to try to address briefly in the small space that Facebook allows.  I’m addressing the points she makes here.  The statements in italics are her comments.  My response follows each italicized paragraph.

Good points Pepper. I’ll address them one at a time – and try to cover them all.

I never said violence would come from the protestors, I just said it was going to happen. When that occurs, it will bring even more ill effects on the country’s ability to ride out the down economy.

Well, it didn’t seem to have a deleterious effect during the 60s. It took Kent State, the Chicago Seven and SDS (among others) to put the brakes on the runaway vehicle that this country had become and turn in the opposite direction. So you can’t point to violence as having “ill effects” – if that argument were true, the revolution of 1776 never would’ve happened.

Why should people leave their jobs and family to do this Jerry? What will it accomplish other than to cause more stress on their families and the companies they work for (should they even have jobs to come home to).

I’m NOT saying that anyone should leave their jobs and family. But, also, I’m NOT saying that people shouldn’t be willing to leave jobs and family. Some people do need to stay “at the home front” and carry out the fight from where they are. Some people are just more effective in being in a support role that a front line position. And, in some ways, the supporters who don’t leave home are as important, if not more, than the people on the front line. There isn’t any army that is greater than its supply line.

However, those people who choose to leave the comforts of family and the illusion of security on their jobs should be praised and honored. NOT vilified or crucified. And Pepper, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue that the protestors should get a job and then in the next post blast them for leaving a job. If the protestors honestly didn’t have jobs (as you seemed to think in your first post), then what better reason is there to participate in the Occupy movement so that they WILL have jobs and be able to afford housing and food for their families?

I do understand why they protest – I even agree with the theme, but as it spreads and grows, what will it accomplish? It won’t improve anything. I wish it could – but it won’t.

What will it accomplish? I don’t know. I don’t have your ability to see into the future. I’m not Nostradamus. Let’s ask what HAS been accomplished. First, people are talking. They’re talking about the issues that are facing this country. As long as people talk, progress can be made. But once we choose the follow the lead of the proverbial ostrich and stick our head in the sand, then accomplishments come to an end. Who is talking? I stood first in Zuccotti Park and then in Federal Plaza and watched as MANY suits came by to carry on a dialogue with the protestors. THAT would never have happened if someone hadn’t stepped up to the plate and started this movement. Second, it could accomplish some radical change – change that is desperately needed in this country today. Third, it is putting the “system” on notice that the American people are fed up and aren’t going to be treated like second class citizens anymore. So what will it accomplish? Who knows…what has it accomplished? A lot more than what has happened as yuppies sit around sipping wine and trying to impress people they don’t like by buying things that they can’t afford.

I don’t sit in my house and remain passive because I am a wimp…I get up every day and go to work and try to remain calm in the face of the scary times in which we live. Right now I know 4 folks there from Asheville who are “artists” who are drawing food stamps, welfare and really need to go flip some burgers.

A person can be “busy” without being productive. Which is more productive for us as a country. The person who “flips burgers” for a living and can’t afford even the most basic necessities of life? The person who makes $7.50 an hour and works twenty hours a week, but finds the cheapest places they can rent is $150.00 a week? And if they put their money into renting, what if they have an issue that requires medicines. Where do they get the money for that? Oh yah, I forgot, they’re flipping burgers. Sure, that’ll solve it. And if their car breaks down? How do they get to work on the grave yard shift or on Sundays? Oh yah…again, my bad…I forgot they’re flipping burgers and that provides more than enough to live on.

I think the person who is more “productive” is the person that has the cajones to step up to the plate and say the country is broken and needs to be changed. The person who is not satisfied with the status quo and sees the benefit in change as opposed to the false security of clinging on to consistency is more productive.

It’s not the 60’s and when something this large turns to violence – I fear that it will turn into the kind of violence we see overseas – it changes those countries forever – into the kind of countries I don’t want to see the US become. We are still the greatest place in the world to live. I am very afraid of this as it begins to spread.

Nope…it’s not the sixties. I quit looking good in bell bottoms a long time ago. Maybe the kind of “violence we see overseas” is what’s needed at some point. I’m not going to turn in a Timothy McVeigh and I’m not advocating that anyone else become a home-grown terrorist either. We don’t need to live in a state of fear – and that seems to be your base. Too many people in this country hide behind the walls of their homes and quake over what may or may not happen. Once we start living from a base of fear, then the “other side” – whoever the other side is – has won. The struggle in this country begun in this country a long time ago – it’s now gaining traction. People are angry. People are frustrated. People have finally grown a set big enough to stand out in the parks and say, we’re sick and tired and we’re not going to take it anymore.

Pepper, I’ve fought for my country once already. I’m ready to fight again. This time though, I know who the enemy is.

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist.  His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content.  Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great.  When not traveling, Nelson volunteers his time and donates his services to area non-profit agencies and is available for portraits, promotional shoots, events and more.  Nelson lives in Asheville, North Carolina when not chasing down stories and photo opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s