Occupy Wall Street. Occupy D.C. Occupy Tampa. Occupy USF. Occupy this. Occupy that. We are the 99%.
Everywhere you turn these days, it seems another “Occupy” movement has cropped up. While I can appreciate the rights of these groups to protest and spread their message, they only focus on the 1% of top earners in America. After this weekend’s homework, there is a very different 1% that I think the United States should be focusing on.
This past week for our class, “Social Media, Social Change,” we were given a reading assignment. This included an article and video links from “The Oprah Show” (which can be found here). In it, Oprah interviews Tom Brokaw, and he is quoted as saying “Less than 1 percent of the American population is bearing 100 percent of the burden of battle.” This really struck me. Many Americans aren’t having their lives changed by the war. There are those who don’t know someone in the military, others who just don’t concern themselves with it, and more who want to help, but just don’t know how. Compared to wars of the past, the average American citizen isn’t uniting around our troops and actively seeking information about what is happening on the other side of the globe.
Even amongst those who think they are well informed about what is happening in Afghanistan, the full story isn’t being told well by the media. While I have always supported our troops, I didn’t see the positives about what was being done in the Middle East; that changed today. For this week’s class, retired USAF SMSgt Rex Temple was our guest speaker, and he shared with us some of his experiences while deployed. His stories about the humanitarian missions were inspiring, and his comments on the living conditions of the people were shocking. The Taliban’s hold on the people of Afghanistan is heartbreaking, and I hope in my lifetime they can be stopped.
It’s not realistic to think that after hearing SMSgt Rex Temple’s presentation, everyone would be ready to go enlist today. I’m not sure that more than that 1% will ever shoulder the burden of fighting for our freedom. However, I am sure that more can be done to lighten that burden a bit for the people fighting. We, as Americans, must learn how to help and what to say to our troops. SMSgt Rex Temple told us of the good will school supplies brought on missions, so, if you can’t do more, I’m sure you have an extra pen or pencil lying around. The troops aren’t the only ones who need our support though. Another reading assignment that really put this in perspective for me can be found here.
We need to support our troops. We need to support their loved ones. We need to break into the 1%. Occupy that!