The New York Post is running a story today about Stacy Hessler, a 38-year-old Florida mom who's gone from her family while she takes part in the Occupy Wall Street protests at Zucotti Park. Hessler is raising four children at home with her husband in DeLand, Fl., but she came to New York City to join the protests on Oct. 9 and has no plans to leave:
I have no idea what the future holds, but I'm here indefinitely. Forever. ... Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad? I'm fighting for a better world.
The story makes it sound like she's just ditching her family, especially the nudge-nudge part about "keeping herself warm at night" in a tent with a male protester. The right winger Jonah Goldberg calls her mom of the year on National Review Online. When I read the Post story this morning, I used snap judgment skills honed in a decade of blogging to conclude that momma's getting her freak flag on.
But her Facebook wall tells a different story. She's extremely involved in her childrens' schools and sports and has posted hundreds of photos of the kids engaged in family outings. Hessler made this post when she decided to turn her week-long stay into something longer:
I have a plea for my friends. I need your help and support. I want to stay occupying wall st. I feel my presence is very important in the support of non-violent communication and sanitation(keeping the park clean) I am willing to work tirelessly on these efforts. I need help with getting my kids to activities and stepping up with the things I help lead, such as one small village, jr roller derby, bee-attitudes, 4H, for his glory co-op. Please respond if you are willing to help my kids so I can stay here and help this movement. I have a train ticket for tomorrow that I want to change but I need to know I have support from my community back home for my family in order to change the ticket.
No less than 12 of her friends are offering to help out. Sound like a bad mom to you? As Hessler's story is fed into the media sausage mill, I hope some reporters do a much better job telling it than Kevin Fasick and Bob Fredericks in the Post.
I highly disagree with this post, she is not a soldier fighting for freedom!
She is a useful idiot who has abandoned her responsibility as a mother. That is her first priority, not joining a whole lot of modern day hippies who have a cause with -no point-.
I feel bad for her children who are without their mom.
Thank you for this article countering the immense negative spin of the New York Post article. I know Stacey personally, and I am one of those people who has pledged to help out here at home while she's away. She has a huge amount of support here, and elsewhere, and her family was in on the decision for her to go to OWS from the beginning.
you are kidding right ? This woman is a self-absorbed a-hole. You think that sleeping in a dirty, dangerous park in New York is more important than being home with your (count 'em) 4 minor children? the reason the economy is in its current condition is because of....self absorbed a-holes...What I want is the most important and screw everybody else and any responsiblities and commitments. She is equally as bad as the "bankers" at a minimum.
"you are kidding right ? This woman is a self-absorbed a-hole. You think that sleeping in a dirty, dangerous park in New York is more important than being home with your (count 'em) 4 minor children?"
So, you're making all of her decisions and understand perfectly what is going on in her life? How very convenient for you. Keep in mind that she is in contact with her children, her husband is with the children and she has many friends helping out.
Indeed, she is making a commitment on behalf of her children and many other children, possibly including yours. She is fighting for a better world and, upon her success, all children (including yours) will benefit.
Finally, you have no idea what her children think of her. I believe it to be quite probable that her children are proud of her and are very supportive. After all, she is taking a principled stand and, guess what, I'll bet her husband has explained this, with lots of loving patience, to their kids.
"self absorbed a-holes" There's some serious projection going on in your life. You've got some serious problems, dude. Get some help. Please.
I disagree completely with anyone who snaps to judgement on this situation. I am a father of three children, and the most important thing I can do for them *long term* is teach them a system of values. I honestly don't think this woman traveled all the way to New York just to get her freak on. Judge not, right?
I don't know how much I agree with the OWS movement, however, I support the right to espouse your beliefs, and I respect those who follow through on their ideology. There is a cost, her family is paying it, it stinks, but we as a society have become too complacent. What price freedom if it comes at the cost of your voice? Don't let spin turn you into sheeple!
This woman's kids miss her, no doubt. I'm equally sure in retrospect she'll be able to look her kids in the eye and say she did what she thought was right. So few of our youth know how to think for themselves, and this is an example of paying a price for what you believe. I don't know if I could or would do it, but anyone who blithely writes this off is intentionally ignoring not only the point of OWS but also invalidating that which makes America proud -- the right to assemble and be heard.
There is no right way to do anything, just the best you know how. Give these folks the benefit of the doubt before you up and judge.
Cynical thought: I'll bet that if this were a protest against using Christ's likeness to sell something offensive, there'd be reams of children left at home in the wake of a march. And you know what? They'd be right, too.
By the way, just because this isn't a battle you're interested in fighting doesn't means it's not valid, real or necessary. And being on the opposite side doesn't give you moral prevalence ... it just means you've got a valid but different point of view.
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Some radical hippie Jewish guy said that awhile back. Can't seem to remember His name, though....
You think that sleeping in a dirty, dangerous park in New York is more important than being home with your (count 'em) 4 minor children?
Joining a political movement because you think it can improve the country is as American as the original Boston Tea Party. People who run for office are away from their families for extended periods of time, too, but nobody calls that selfish.
Stacey Hessler told the New York Post -- in a comment left off the story but in the video -- that she expects to be home by the holidays. The story was a vicious hatchet job. She's a hippie organic beekeeper who still believes at age 38 that people power can change the world. Good for her, and good for her husband and kids allowing her to try.
I personally know stacey, if you listen to her video, her words are taken out of context and she is being misrepresented. She is a dedicated bee keeper, homemaker and mother. She is very active in our homeschooling community and won home maker of the year at the Volusia county fair. She is highly involved in 4-H, our local community theatre, and all kinds of activities and community service with her children. Although her husband works for a bank, he is not some wealthy banker, he is one of the 99% that the protesters are trying to represent. The New York Post is a Rupert Murdock paper, and that man is so wealthy he is represents the top 1% thus his articles are totally going to disparage and misrepresent those that call for change in laws and practices that allow corporations to be more powerful than government and for people to be reduced to consumers at best, with the so called wealthy having more vote so to speak and hardly anyone really functioning as a citizen with citizen protections and freedoms. stacey is a mother, representing many many parents wanting a future and present for their children and not just a class society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class disappears! Thank you very much stacey. (and her whole family for letting her go, and all the community here that is supporting them through this. I miss her, and most folks in this town know her and can vouch for her that she is being misrepressented, as are probably most of the protesters, I hope NPR goes and interviews her!)
I mention this blog on the Post's comment board and got the response I expected from people who would read the Post for truth. Post readers are more interested in seeing someone smeared than the truth.
Just a suggestion to Stacey - I did have a look at her Facebook page, and with all the attention she is getting she might want to take it private for a while. Too many mean spirited people out there, if you know what I mean.
Clearly, some people think it's only appropriate for someone to leave their home and their families and fight for what they believe in when you do it in uniform and carrying a weapon.
There are plenty of Americans who do exactly what Stacy is doing. Where they do it and how they do it doesn't matter - it's just as honorable for her as it is for them.
There's a second-day story in the Post today that's another hatchet job by two new reporters. The story anonymously quotes two of her neighbors criticizing her, but finally gets around at the end to quoting a friend who said the family supports her activism.
The Village Voice has a blog post up highlighting the Post's bizarre and mean-spirited coverage.
"People who run for office are away from their families for extended periods of time, too, but nobody calls that selfish."
I think its because of the pointlessness of it. She (and you and the 99% of the "occupiers") are no doubt going to vote for Obama again and every Democrat incumbent. They're all just as much in Wall Street's pocket as any GOPer. Going to Wall Street or any other town besides Washington DC is pointless. The "change" will only start with the removal of politicians and replacing them with people who agree with this ideology. But you "occupiers" aren't in DC in force, you're in NYC blaming corporations and wall street because you don't have the conviction or you lack the balls to call out the politicians you voted for.
Hope and Change had 2 years of absolute Democratic rule before the GOP took the House of Representatives... if you think the DNC and Obama shares your beliefs with this Occupy nonsense, then why didn't they give a rat's ass from '08 to '10?
In the not so distant past newspapers like the New York Post were a source that people trusted and time after time they have abused that trust. Now there is a relatively new phenomena called Face Book and the Internet as a whole.
Entities like the New York Post are used to being able to filter information to the public as if it was the gospel truth.
Those days are gone. Information can no longer be censored. and the Truth is Finally easy to find, Uncensored, and Unbiased,
Hats off to you Stacey.