Eyes Forward

By Henry Piarrot
We men have an unwritten rule we abide by when relieving ourselves in public restrooms. It is simply called “eyes forward.” The purpose of this unspoken legislation is to insure that the guy next door knows nobody cares about what he has. I think the “Occupy Wall Street Protesters” could learn much from this common and respectful understanding.
When I was young, the media and my teachers paraded an endless line of achievers before me and the rest of my generation. The point was to impress upon us that if they could accomplish great things, with hard work, study and preparation, we could succeed as well.
Then something sinister appeared by the time my children began attending school. Suddenly, the achiever was no longer considered a role model, but some kind of special pariah that only became successful because he or she somehow swindled somebody else out of what they had.
Teachers and politicians alike repeatedly told my kids they were no longer in charge of their destiny, but government would be there to help them when they fail. I almost lost my mind when failing even became part of the discussion among young people with their entire futures before them.
The current Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that began a month ago not far from the New York Stock Exchange seems to have become the democrats’ answer to the Tea Party movement that has risen over the past 2 and a half years.  
However, the main difference is that the Tea Parties represent many of us who believe that our oversized and oppressive government is sucking the life out of the American Dream. While the Occupy Wall Street folks are simply expecting that same government to confiscate the wealth of selected rich people they think do not need to be rich.
Class envy has unfortunately been part of our political process since Andrew Jackson founded the democrat party in the 1820’s. But, the mere concept of eyeing another man’s stuff contradicts the heart of the American Dream.
The fact is that the redefining of the America we have known has been taking place all around us for some time. No longer are our eyes forward, but fixed squarely on the urinal beside us.
I am not a rich man. My wealth is the health and love of my five children. Thankfully, none of them believe the only way they can succeed in life is for the politicians to confiscate what others have earned and give it to them.
At the end of the day, rich people are already rich. They have worked hard to earn and grow what they have. Yet, we still expect them to risk what is theirs so that they can be punished for their success by way of the confiscation of what profits their risk and effort have earned.
It is obvious that if they are not provided incentives to invest their money, they will simply sit on it and the rest of us will not work. In my nearly forty years of earning a living in America, I have never been given a job by a homeless person.
Nevertheless, instead of rewarding the rich for risking their wealth, we arrogantly tell them to invest and the government will continue to take most of the profits their money has earned. Is there any real wonder why those with the money to invest, are waiting for Washington to regain its sanity before building or buying anything substantial.
I strongly recommend we all keep our eyes forward and pay attention to what is before us. The longer it takes us to stop looking at what we do not have, the longer it will take for us to get what we want… American opportunity, freedom and jobs!
Henry Piarrot is a hotel manager and Sevier County resident. Please send all story recommendations to hpiarrot@yahoo.com