Sunday, October 2, 2011

We Are The 99 Percent

If you have read my posts in the past, you are aware of the fact that I avoid the news like the plague.  There seems to be nothing more than story after story, which seem filled with negativity, ignorance and hate.  If you're lucky you get a two minute positive story at the very end, telling you about a child who raised money for a local cause...or a therapy dog that brings joy to the lives of the elderly.  These stories are wonderful, and they restore my faith in humans and animals alike!  Sometimes though, I am not able to avoid the negativity that is occurring around me, and some of it sneaks into my bubble...and I have to address it.  Sometimes I hear a story that makes me want to cover my ears while I sing "I CAN'T HEAR YOU...LA LA LA LA!!!" but I cannot make enough noise to block it out.  And today I heard one of those stories.  It seems that there has been a silent uprising and quiet protest to what is happening in this country with our economy, that has been occurring in many cities such as NY and Chicago.  People have been joining together for 'sit-ins' outside places such as Wall Street.  It is called 'Occupy Wall Street,' and despite the fact that there has been little-to-no news coverage on these protests, they have actually been occurring for about two weeks.  The people joining in are not violent protesters by any means...they are normal average people, who are tired of the constant daily struggle to survive.  People like you and me, who struggle to pay for mediocre health care, struggle to put food on the table, struggle to pay for rent/mortgage, gas, electricity...the list is endless.

I don't pretend to be an expert when it comes to politics.  The back and forth insults between parties; the mudslinging and the blame games that seem to accompany any political debate distract me and frustrate me.  So when I first heard about Occupy Wall Street, I asked some questions and did some digging.  What is obvious to the majority of the people in this country is that our economy is NOT WORKING.  Whether or not the numbers I found are completely accurate, is something I'm not sure of.  But I think I'm close...and I think the numbers are appalling!  As it is now, I have heard that about 90% of the money in this country is controlled by about 1% of the population.  That leaves 10%...and THAT money is distributed to the 99% of the population who are left.  Now if you are like me you may need to reread that statement, because it involves numbers (which also frustrate me,) and because it is completely unbelievable...though it is also very real!  What it comes down to is this: there are some very deep pockets stuffed with the majority of the money in America, while the rest of the people have pockets that are empty...and they are struggling...and starving...and homeless.  And the thought that this is occurring ANYWHERE, is innately, incredibly WRONG!

Do I begrudge anyone the wealth they may have acquired over the years?  Not really.  What I do have problems with are the tax breaks and incentives that were handed out many years ago to those with wealth, in the hopes that the people accepting these incentives would be putting money back into our creating programs that benefited the greater good, and jobs that would be available for those willing to work.  That did not happen.  And despite the fact that our economy has ended up in the toilet, and hunger and homelessness continue to rise, the people who have the capability to make a difference are choosing greed instead.  A couple of years ago, Congress attempted to take those tax breaks back from those who had received them, such as the oil companies.    And our current financial situation is a strong indication of the results.  Would taking back those earlier incentives cause the former receivers financial ruin?  Hardly.  But greed is a powerful that can make you turn your back on your fellow men and women, and ignore the obvious suffering that goes on around you.  It breaks my heart to know that anyone would choose greed and wealth over ending the suffering of others, but it is happening as we speak.

Now, I am not attempting to use this blog as my podium to stand up and point fingers.  This is not my forum to persuade you to vote Democrat or Republican, or to convince you to side with Obama or speak against him.  I have heard the comments against him and the blame that many have placed on his shoulders, due mainly to the fact that he did not wipe away our financial struggle upon entering the Presidential office.  And quite frankly I do not I think he has done everything the way it should have been done?  No...I'd be shocked if a President like that even existed.  But I do believe that he took on one HELL of a job, and has been expected by many to fix issues that have been brewing, long before he took over.  Obama was not the one to create this giant ball of financial downturn, or the one who sent it rolling down the hill.  This ball has been gaining speed and velocity for years, making it very difficult to stop.  To give you an idea of just how large this issue is, and how fast that ball is rolling, here is a chart that shows just how much our National debt has increased over the years...and where it started.

So before we point fingers; before we place blame, let's be realistic about where this issue started.  It does not all lie with our current President, who has barely dipped his toes in the water.  The situation in America has been ongoing for a very long time, and maybe it would be more beneficial to stop worrying about where to place the blame and start being realistic about how to fix it...TOGETHER.

But first we have to stop and listen.  ALL of us need to stop and take a good, long look around, and open our eyes to see who stands beside us.  No matter what walk of life you may come from, or social class you may belong matter how much or how little education you may have had, it no longer matters.  PEOPLE matter, and the people are suffering!  And we are the 99 percent of the population who are tired of suffering, and just want to be heard.  The stories may break your heart, but these are the stories of your loved ones...these are the stories of America.  Greed must NO LONGER take precedence...happiness of the few should no longer be put above the suffering of the many!

If you want to listen, and if you would like to share your own story, then check out this site:
log onto to read the many entries of people just like you and me.  They are powerful, and heart wrenching, and you may want to have tissues nearby.  But like any serious issue it is well worth the read.  My own story posted below, will also be posted on this site...and I hope that one day soon we will all be heard!

I am 39 years old, and I receive disability because I was born with a Peripheral Neurological disorder called Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome.  I didn't always receive SSD...I went to college and earned a dual Masters in Special Education and Literacy, because I wanted to help children with disabilities succeed. 
After college I worked my butt off for seven years as a teacher, until I suffered an injury, and my body could no longer keep up.  I had to declare bankruptcy, and give up an occupation I put 15 years into, all because of a back injury that took 30 seconds to occur. 
I thought college and a career was what I was supposed to do...for the past few years I have questioned that decision.  Now I work 20 hours a week as a secretary because that is all my body can handle, and there are many days it can't even handle that.
I have no retirement or pension, and have no idea what my future holds.  SSD doesn't cover my rent and other expenses, though I know I am lucky to have it at all.  The small income I make doesn't even come close to covering my medical costs, though I know how fortunate I am to even have a job.
I am one of the lucky ones.  I have parents who love me, and if it wasn't for them I don't know where I would be.
It used to be my dream to help disabled children face the obstacles I have faced.
My current dream is to be self sufficient, so my parents don't have to worry anymore.
I am the 99 percent.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the warning. You were right; I need tissues. Thank you for sharing your story. Without my husband I'd be in the same boat. Better be nicer to him.