I know it seems like I've been harping quite a bit on the Occupy protesters, and maybe I have. I thought about it, and here's why:
1)I am very close to St. Louis. We just had a great business boom thanks to four World Series games (including the final one) in the last two weeks. We could have had even more business, but the jokers parked in Kiener Plaza (pregame pep rally turf until the "SOCIALISM NOW!" signs arrived) most likely kept all but the die-hardest of die-hards off the grass - and away from the vendors.
2)I have friends who have devoted their lives - and a few who have GIVEN their lives (Leston 'Tony' Winters) - in order to protect the freedoms and the flag that these "occupiers" are ridiculing and abusing.
3)I personally spent ten years of my life defending those freedoms. I am something of a free speech purist (I actually wrote a paper last year defending the Supreme Court decision to uphold the First Amendment Rights of the Westboro Baptist Church), which means that I truly believe Rousseau's statement: "I do not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." However, that does not mean that I believe we should sit silently by and allow the occupiers to be the only voice. We must counter Rousseau with Jefferson: "Error of opinion will be tolerated as long as Reason is left free to combat it."
Because I believe in what America is, I offered up things in trade that in retrospect seem unthinkable. I traded the early years at home with my young children for a trust fund baby's right to tell the world how evil his parents are by taking a dump on the American flag. I traded seeing my youngest daughter's first steps for the undeniable right that a group of men has to gang rape a woman at a protest site. I traded helping my kids with homework for a transsexual's right to promote Maoism. And the list goes on, ad (literally) nauseam.
So this Occupy madness strikes quite a personal chord for me. I watch the goings on in absolute shock most days. At the end of it all, I pray only for two things: First, that America is still strong enough to recover when the dust settles. And second, for my friends like Tony - that you guys who died to give us what we have can look down on the hell being unleashed in America and know that there are still a few of us left willing to fight to the death to get her back.