So the other day I’m sitting at Starbucks trying to get motivated to process the latest batch of photos. I get bored and start flipping through some of the videos on YouTube that deal with the various Occupy movements. Most of them are showing protestors in the street, protestors holding signs and protestors shouting. Nothing new there. A few of them though catch my eye. There are videos of the cops coming through the various parks where protestors have encamped and are now getting evicted. One catches my eye – this one.
Not much in it. A line of cops setting off fire extinguishers and turning over a total of – count ‘em – three tables.
Reading the comments though I had to laugh out loud. Among all of the comments was one that just consisted of a single word – nauseating. Yep. Nauseating. I had to ask myself what twit would say that what they saw was “nauseating”.
What kind of person uses the word “nauseating” when cops turn over three tables and uses fire extinguishers. At first I figured it must be some twelve year old – but then I realized that the average kid who’s 12 has seen more violence in his video games. So, must be a twelve year old girl…or someone that thinks like one.
Maybe it was a twelve year old girl whose biggest life thrill so far has been getting a poster of Justin Bieber up in her bedroom. I can’t think of any rational, adult, mature human being calling three tables and a few fire extinguishers “nauseating”.
Why do I find this one word commentary so entertaining and, well, “nauseating”? It’s not a simple answer, but I’ll try to break it down.
First, in what is supposed to be the world’s richest country, there are 14 MILLION people unemployed. While greedy corporations and corrupt politicians are sending our jobs overseas, 14,000,000 of our fellow Americans are living hand-to-mouth on Food stamps and unemployment benefits. That is IF their unemployment benefits haven’t run out yet.
Second, they haven’t gotten up one morning and stood outside with the Occupiers waiting on breakfast consisting of cold powdered eggs and luke warm coffee. No, they’ve rolled out of their pillow-top bed, padded in their slippers to the kitchen and gotten themselves a cup of coffee from the coffee maker that was programmed to have it freshly made for them just minutes before they woke up. They take their coffee cup to the bathroom where they have hot water to shower in and clean towels to dry off with. As they sip the last of their coffee, they stroll over to Facebook to see what the latest video their friends are sharing or what recipes are being passed around. In other words, they haven’t made any sacrifice to be a part of the movement that will ultimately – regardless of how it turns out – have an effect on their life.
Third, the number of homeless that is growing in our country every day is nauseating. More and more people – and not just mentally ill, but couples with children – are living in the streets. Kids three, four and five years old are living in alleys along drunks, winos and prostitutes. THIS is nauseating.
Three tables getting kicked over and a few fire extinguishers may appear nauseating to some – but only to those who won’t get out of their apartments and houses and check out what the real conditions for people in this country are today.
To me, that apathy is nauseating.
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. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.
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