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I am the 99%

Updated on March 14, 2012
George Washingmissileton, Father of the 99%
George Washingmissileton, Father of the 99% | Source

I’m sure there are many of you who do not much like all this talk about ‘the 99%’.

It may smack of divisiveness, or anti-elitism. You may think it ‘class warfare’. You may even think that ‘the 99%’ — or at least many of those who profess to be members of the 99% — are malcontents, homeless, radicals, professional protesters, lazy drugheads, or simply uninformed individuals expecting some form of welfare or support to which they might not (legally or morally) be entitled.

Well, let me disabuse you of such notions. The 99% of Americans is actually a very polyglot, diverse, rambunctious and disparate group. In fact, it most likely includes you, too, whether you much like it or not. It includes conservatives and liberals and independents, religious and atheistic, white and black and red and brown and yellow and green. It includes steelworkers and software designers, hardhats and housewives, teens and geriatrics.

The very concept of ‘the 99%’ is that of a sizable majority being misled, scammed, lied to, taken advantage of, or simply neglected and left behind by a very slim, narrow and powerful ultra-elite 1%.

So, when an extremely wealthy ex-governor or ex-congressman — cushioned atop a massive fluffy cloud of money and privilege and perquisites and pride, and thus totally out of the reach of your daily life experience — pontificates on what is right in your neighborhood, your home, your business, your church, your bedroom, your doctor’s office, you should rightfully feel aggrieved.

When a multinational corporation opts to drive down vendor costs, underfund pensions, shed U.S. jobs, pollute American land and water and air, game the U.S. tax code to avoid paying Uncle Sam (who is simply you, and me, and our fellow citizens, by proxy), expand overseas, lavish huge bonuses and pay packages on its officers, invest in a Senator or two, fund a SuperPAC to advocate more drilling, then whine about our ‘punitive corporate tax rates’, you have every reason to be crying foul.

And, if some blowhard in front of a podium or a television camera tries to spew some bilge about how a simple ‘gut-check’ of ‘good ol’ American values’ and blathering about the Constitution are valid substitutes for reasoned discourse and hard work and thoughtful compromise on the myriad nuances and complexities of America’s social and political problems, you can tell him to go stuff it.

The 99% have brought into the public spotlight a national scandal: over the past several decades, America has become more harshly divided between the haves and the have-nots than ever before. As each day progresses, more of our children fall into poverty. More of our families see the American Dream vanishing. More of our youth become demoralized and disenchanted. More people lose access to good jobs and health care. And more of our nation’s ‘robber-barons’ become even richer and more rapacious.

Being part of the 99% requires work — diligent, consistent, thoughtful, considerate, collaborative work. It requires listening to the many richly varied voices that make up America, and parsing out the commonalities and the shared beliefs, not the extreme arguments and divisive rhetoric. It requires realizing that we all have a shared destiny, that as Ben Franklin reportedly opined, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.” We must launch America into a great extended period of reinvestment, growth and opportunity for all.

I am therefore proud to be the 99%.

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    • rickzimmerman profile imageAUTHOR

      rickzimmerman 

      6 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      As long as people are willing to take just a sound-bite, and only that sound-bite, from any public figure, and then spin it into a controversy, they'll stay perpetually irate. It takes time, patience, and reasoned discourse to separate out the hearsay and the hyperbole to end up with some reasoned approach to life's issues.

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 

      6 years ago from California

      I love this post. It is very soothing to read after reading what some of my liberal friends are posting on their fb pages. Serious propaganda! Honestly, I think people need to think with their own brains and stop getting crazy over what some politicians did not actually say. This is one of the things that is causing all the scandal. All Mitt Romney has to do is open his mouth and the media is playing back what he "means" by that.

    • rickzimmerman profile imageAUTHOR

      rickzimmerman 

      6 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hey, AR, lighten up a little. I think thou dost protesteth too much. You seem to be exceedingly (and rightfully) proud of what you have achieved, and deserve to be respected for it. Why then is it so hard for you to respect others that may have different life stories, different concerns, different achievements, and different viewpoints? Not everyone that thinks differently than you is a loser. Your rancor and spite and extreme language and closed mind are part of what's still wrong with this great country. Since you've come so far in your life, why not grow some compassion and care for your fellow citizens now?

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      6 years ago from America

      paradise7 keep thinking your a blessing to yourself! and soon it will be too late! Its shameful to be a part of this great country and not know what is going on!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'm one of the 99%. It's fine with me. I have enough. I feel blessed because I have enough.

      I'm not political, and I think to myself, that's another blessing.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      6 years ago from America

      I guess Im one of the few 1%! I paid 30 grand in taxes last year! Live in a gated community! drive new vehicles! and own lake property! I started a business with 200 bucks 18 years ago and sold it for about 50,000 times that recently! Then I was asked to become part of the marketing group for a large oil service company. I have been doing this for the past 3 years and today I recieved a letter from the board of my company giving me 1500 shares of stock as an incentive to stay and continue working for them! Never mind I grew up dirt poor with ice on the INSIDE of our home during winter! Never mind my father beat me and stuck a screw driver through my hand to stop me from crying as a baby! Never mind that I was so nervous as a child that I pulled all my hair out in the first grade and had to suffer the humilation of shaving! ..........Did I mention my family NEVER took food stamps nor welfare? Did I mention I mowed grass all summer with Asthma to get a garage sale bike? I don't give a DAMN about those panty waist weaklings calling the themselves the 90 percenters! I care about those who create, have drive, have determination! Ambition and the guts to make it happen! I don't get motivated by those whining over class warfare! I get motivated by those willing to show me how they got there so I can join them in this great and free country!

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