Today I drove smack through the middle of a 150-person protest in the heart of my little Seattle suburb.
On one side of the street, green-t-shirted protesters held signs demanding jobs, even imploring passing motorists to "honk for jobs." As I drove by, I withheld my inclination to honk: yes, I'm for jobs! Who isn't? But MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and the politically left Center for Community Change, stationed in the sleepy center of this 20,000-resident community today didn't want to strengthen employers' ability to hire more, by loosening regulation and taxes. They demand that taxpayers either pay more or swell the deficit by creating government jobs. Across the street, a dozen holding signs "Tea Party Patriot" counter-protested, with the retort, "cut spending to create jobs!"
The scene got noisy, with one side of the street shrieking at the other, punctuated by the blare of occasional car honks. A handful of police stood by in amusement. Moms with strollers and toddlers gawked and took cell phone photos. A broadcast truck with three-story antenna parked in a supermaket lot.
I called my husband, fave radio host, to apprise him of this surprising event in our usually dull midst. I was soon called by the local news radio station, KIRO, for an on-the-scene report. Turns out this is the third such demonstration at that site, each a "day of action" the Center for Community Change stages as part of their "American Dream Movement."
Seemed a lame and pointless endeavor, something to keep college kids busy before the new semester begins. This site was chosen as it's about a half-block from the suburban office of our local congressman.
Everyone's distressed at the stalled economy, and everyone would love to see jobs created. But the American Dream, for which this politically left protest "movement" is named, calls for individuals to create their own success, by availing themselves of the democratic system's opportunities in our free market economy. In America, where Horatio Alger stories were once the symbol of industrious, self-motivated success, we are not dependent on a super-power, on government largesse or elected officials for our individual improvement. The American Dream is of the self-made man or woman, whose great idea and effortful execution brings not only personal rewards, but uplifts all those he/she carries forward.
I'll honk for jobs, but of the type that empower individuals without the fetters of severe regulation or government subsidy. We're all of one mind nationally, that our president's current approach to the problem of unemployment stimulated little but despair and cost more than we can afford. Now, the question is: do you spend a summer's day holding signs begging for outside help, or do you get going and invent something new? Dependence on the government isn't the American Dream; proud, creative, independent achievment is.