Occupy Wall Street and "Military People"


I haven't really been paying much attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement so I have no idea what their purpose or goals are. Even knowing as little as I do about them, I never thought I'd find a military angle, but lo and behold, I did. It was reported that Stacey Hessler, the wife of a banker, left her husband and kids in Florida to join the occupiers in New York. When interviewed, Stacey used a military comparison:

The unemployed Long Island native compared her decision to abandon her family to Americans serving in the armed forces.

“Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad?” a defiant Hessler said. “I’m fighting for a better world.”

Where to start. Where to start....

How about we start with the term "military people?" That sounds a bit, well, dismissive. I picture someone waving their hands and turning their nose towards the sky. You know, those military people.

I'd opt for "members of the military," or simply "service members," but that's just me. Leaving terminology aside, Stacey just made an extremely poor comparison here. There are very profound differences between the duties of a *ahem* service member and the desire of one to join a social movement of any sort. Yes, it is a volunteer force, but it is the job of those who volunteered to "leave" their families. They take an oath and make a commitment to their country. Whether they like it or not, they must go wherever and whenever they are ordered, and they must complete the mission handed to them. I highly doubt Stacey would face dire consequences for deviating from her duties, or not completing them at all.

At around 11 a.m. yesterday, Hessler moved from laundry duty to park cleanup -- a four-hour detail from which she broke just once to give a troubled protester a hug at the “empathy table.” She also found time for a meditation session later in the day.
Stacey can call or text or IM with her loved ones any time it suits her. And if she wants to leave the occupiers and go to the ABC Store in New York City for a little shopping (which I highly recommend, it's a fabulous store), she can do so. If she wants to head to Little Italy for a nice Italian dinner accompanied by a delicious glass of wine, Stacey is free to do so. If she wants to hang out in Central Park all day and soak up the sunshine, she can. And last, but certainly not least, when Stacey becomes cold, tired, hungry, disagreeable with others or simply bored, she is free to pack up her knapsack and resume her life in Florida.

"Military people" do not have these luxuries. But thanks to them, Stacey does.

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