Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The "99%"????

Recently I've seen this pic posted several times on Facebook:


I know those who have posted this believe that they are calling attention to the fact that here in America we are better off (at least economically) than are many other nations of the world.  No doubt about that.

Also, I think they are probably trying to say: "quit whining!"  Another sentiment with which I can agree -- at least in part.

Here's the part that bugs me.

First of all, reminding us that there are others in the world who suffer deeply does not change anything about our situation in the United States.  We've still been duped, cheated and otherwise mugged by the banking industry that created the housing bubble that burst and thus began this crisis.  And yes, it is a "crisis" -- for many, many of our fellow Americans.  There are indeed many (over 9% of us in America) who are out of work and don't know how they're going to continue to provide life's basic needs for themselves and/or their families.  Is the top part of the photo merely a prophecy of what may become of those pictured in the bottom part?

Second, let's not forget that the crisis that began with American banks did not stay in America.  It quickly spread around the globe.  Every geographical area of our globe (except probably for the Arctic and Antarctic, presumably) has come under an economic "downswing," characterized in many places as a recession.  So, if the top photo was taken recently, then those folks are also suffering because of the world-wide economic downturn.

In other words, the "99%" of the bottom photo are not separate from the "99%" of the top photo.  Those in the Occupy movement are not "whining" because they don't want to work, because they want a free ride or a handout.  They are protesting an unjust system that has been rigged against everyone who is not an "insider" to the kind of financial trading/pirating that has characterized our banking industry.  So, the starving people at the top and the Occupy people at the bottom are all part of the "99%" -- which in fact probably means that "99%" needs to be expanded into "99.999999%," or something like that.

As I walked into a pizza place a couple of weeks ago I heard a lady on her cellphone telling the person on the other end of her call that the protesters should quit whining and go get a second job.  Can we please just admit that it's just not that easy for many people?  That there are real difficulties supporting a family in today's economy?  That jobs that pay enough to support a family just aren't that readily available?  That a "second job" for some is an impossibility until we can get them a decent FIRST JOB?

Certainly I can't speak for everyone who has turned out for one of the Occupy protests, but many of them seem to understand that this is not just an American issue -- that it is indeed global, and that they are protesting not just for their own benefit but for the benefit of all those around the world who are suffering from economic disadvantage.  The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.

1 comment:

paul said...

i think your post is right on the money