Your Mind and Your Mind Only

When I see the Wall Streetprotestors, I see them in this cage, begging to be free; free from the police’s grasp, free from hopelessness, free from the prison of winter. But this I see with my own eyes. When I look deeper, when I observe very meticulously, I see perseverance, determination, hope. Why are all these things invisible to the human eye? Why can’t everyday people walk by those protestors and see determination? Why do people refuse to see the truth under people’s beliefs? We give a name for everyone depending on what they believe in. Our society pretends to be a place full of freedom and equality but reality, freedom has neverbeen truly enforced and equality is disappearing.

I then think about my little dog at home. She has to stay in her cage when we are gone because she isn’t well trained. She cries and yells but in her eyes she is hopeful. Hopeful that we will be home soon, hopeful that there will be someone to play with her, hopeful that there will be a change. Being a Chihuahua, she often gets stereotyped into a category of weak and small. Well, she rules our house. I think that the Wall St. protestors have the same traits as my dog. They both want change and they both will never give up for it. The protestors may get stereotyped as being homeless, stupid or uneducated but we don’t know them personally, so we cant judge them because it is not fair at all. I don’t stereotype small people for being weak, I don’t stereotype tourists for being stupid, and I don’t stereotype girls as being less powerful or boys as being more powerful. So why should we stereotype people for protesting their rights? That isn’t fair at all.

I think that those protesters are audacious.They were willing to take the turn that everyone has been reluctant to take. They wanted to go down the road less traveled by and they kept walking, never regretting. They had been out in this little park for 2 months and they had refused to leave. I drove past the park a few weeks ago and I saw lots of tents with signs that said “Come On In”. I also saw first aid tents and a food table with people helping others. That was what I saw most, people helping each other. It was, a small world inside those barricades. A world of peace, care and love. A world where everyone was heard by one another and a world where everyone was equal. I am fascinated with this world. These people want reconstruction of their lives so badly, and they are intent on getting it. I still hear them sometimes, chanting, hoping a soul out there will hear them and join. Why do people walk by them with a sigh? Why do people roll their eyes when they see their signs? It’s because people had started to get annoyed with the protestors’ ongoing determination to be heard.

I talked to this one woman who said she used to support OWS but she is now anti–OWS. She said, “When the protestors start interrupting our daily lives, they need to stop and go home.” But maybe we have been interrupting the daily lives of all those protestors for a long time. Maybe this is their daily life. They are risking their homes and jobs to show that America is falling apart. As a society we are starting to realize that freedom and the right of the people was never enforced. We just pretended it was and went along with it. Now that these Wall St.protestors are upset about something, the government is trying to shush them quiet so that their daily lives wont are interrupted. This is not a perfect world and it never will be, but why not try to get closer to making everyone happy. This isn’t some futile, little kid’s idea. If we all work hard to try and make everyone happy, we will be able to live in a better world surrounded by better people.

When I see those police officers guarding those fences, I wonder if they are there to show that they are in charge. Guarding those fences gives them a feeling that they have power over others and it gives others around that same feeling. This reminds me of the paintings from Thomas Cole. The Savage Stage, The Pastoral Stage, Consummation, The Destruction, and Desolation. These five paintings show the growth and fall of empire and human progress. In the paintings, Cole showed that empire is grown out of little but soon turned into nothing. When I saw these paintings, I thought that Cole was trying to show that empire used to be full of mistakes and death but now I am realizing that the message is a little broader. Thomas Cole was trying to show that empire may soon be thought of as history but it will always be there. Empire represents social class and advancement. That is still being shown today. Why is a police officer more important than a protestor? Isn’t everyone supposed to be equal? Supposed to. We are never what we are supposed to be.

I think that those protestors show the world that they want their voices heard. They don’t want to be put aside, or forgotten. They want a chance to express how they feel without having to be famous or important. Actually, using the word important is wrong because these protestors portraying the fact that you don’t have to be important to make a difference. You don’t have to be known worldwide to say how you feel.

When I think of America, I think of a democracy, I think of a place where equality is very important. But when I see these policemen and these protestors, I know that equality is starting to dissolve into the air. If you ask almost anyone, policemen are considered more importantthan everyday New Yorkers. Then there are the questions that ask, why are there rich and poor? Why are over 40 million Americans struggling to pay for health care? What is so equal about that? I think that by seeing this protest, we start to realize that we need to fix our equality crisis. When I saw those tents and those signs, I thought, we need to help these people. They have been weathering the scorching hot sun and the freezing snow. These people have such a strong heart. They don’t want to give up. They never will.

I want to help those protestors. I want them to know that what they are doing is making history. They want to be seen through the crowd. They want to be heard through the screams. But most of all, they want to show America, and the rest of the world that they are not weak and that they will never give up. No one will admit it, but there is a war going on. It’s a silent war, and there is no end.

My mom always tells me that people can never take away your opinion. You think what you want because no one can tell you otherwise. Every single person has an opinion. People can influence your decisions and beliefs but ultimately, you are in control of your mind. Because your mind is one of the few things that will always be yours. “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery said. We all say things and pretend to be things but most of it is not real. The one thing that can never be fake and that can never be taken away is your mind. You can choose to share it to the world or you can choose to conceal it but no matter what, it is always there and it is always yours. You may see those cool cats failing school, ‘swaging’ as they call it, and being all mean, but soon enough they will realize that that isn’t them. Media has persuaded us to stereotype people and to think a certain way. They want you to think that wearing a short skirt will make a girl popular or being inappropriate will make a boy cool. I think that society has become obsessed with this and has confused our minds. We think a certain way because we feel we have to, but after a while we stop and really think, and we notice that this isn’t your real mind. This is an obsessed, manipulated, and stereotypical mind that we don’t want. But why do people still think certain things because they feel they have to? Why are we so afraid to be different or to speak above authority? These protestors have stopped to think, is this really me? Do I really believe in what everyone believes in? Do I agree with authority? Am I the only one or can I have a say in our economic crisis?

Nothing can stop the protestors; they have to keep going until they reach their goals. Why should anyone stop them? They should be able to say whatever they want. I watched this video on YouTube called

Eviction @ #Occupy Wall Street, LRAD used Journalists kicked out as police beat sitting protestors. It showed hundreds of protestors getting arrested while others chanted the freedoms they had. Freedom of speech, protest, going against the government. Thomas Jefferson once said. “Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.” This is absolutely true because we live in a democracy and everyone deserves to be heard. Why should something be ignored if it is someone’s opinion? Our government is ignoring the protestors, but why? Why should they be ignored when they have the same rights as a Wall Street businessman? I was having a discussion once about when someone should get killed after committing a crime. Someone in the group said that if a police officer is killed, the murderer should be killed but if it is a regular, everyday person, the murder should just be put to jail. I disagree. We are equal to the police officers and a murder is a murder, it doesn’t matter who the person is.

Why does our society pretend to be something we are not? Why do we say that we have equal rights when really, our society is separated by our differences? We are a culture of true differences. We are equal in our minds but in reality, this country is nothing but a rickety staircase. The rich and powerful go on to the top and the poor and “useless” go on the bottom. Why do we have to have these stairs of inequality? Why can’t we be the way we are supposed to be? This country started because of the rights people were supposed to have. People are still coming to this country because they want to be free and they want to finally be equal but this place is only in our heads, there is no such thing as equality on earth. We are not ever what we say, so why do we pretend to be?

One last thing that I think the protestors have demonstrated is the ability to never give up. They have persevered through so many things. I believe that if someone has a dream or a goal, they should go for it. Reach for the stars; don’t let the ground hold you. We all have hopes and wishes but the hardest part is achieving them. These protestors are going for what they believe in and there is nothing and I mean nothing, that can stop them. We all have a right to believe in what we want to believe in and we all have a right to. Everyone has a prerogative to say their opinion and they can express it freely. If the police think opposite of the protestor, that is not wrong, they can think what they want, because they have a right to. There is no right or wrong, no yes or no. When you want something really badly, you go for it. You only have one life, live it at its fullest. Take risks, make choices, speak out, just know that the sky has no limits and the stars are endless.

Tess Gutenbrunner
Age 12, Grade 7
MS 255 Salk School of Science
Silver Key

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