Since yesterday there have been demonstrators at the Arch showing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement going on in New York City and spreading to other cities in the U.S. Today I overheard a gentleman discussing our local demonstrators with a friend, and he remarked: "They're protesting poverty. What do you want me to do about it? Go get a job, a**hole."
Here is what you can do about it. You can be open-minded to the message that our country is experiencing a severe economic problem right now. Jobs are not like coconuts lying on the ground waiting to be picked up. From my professional prospective, I can tell you that in the Athens area there are talented, hardworking people who have been employed in successful positions and run multimillion-dollar businesses but are now shut out of the economy, either desperately underemployed or desperately searching for any job whatsoever.
You might tell them to "Get a job, a**hole," but I guarantee you they have already thought of that. I have no simple solutions to propose, and the Occupy Wall Street movement has a hopeless and absurdly long litany of grievances, but one message to be heard is that we need rational, open-minded debate in our society, not epithets and platitudes.