By now we have all seen the media coverage of Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together. With few exceptions, like Rachel Maddow, members of the mainstream media, who dare to call themselves journalists, have either completely ignored the Occupy movement or have, like Erin Burnette, mocked it. The mainstream media has, for the most part, treated this long overdue citizens movement with thinly veiled disdain and indifference. Why? Simple, they are owned by the very entities against which the Occupy movement is protesting, corporations and banks. So, naturally they are going to paint the protesters as if they are nothing more than whining, disorganized hippies, who lack a clear message and have nothing better to do than harass hard-working CEOs (for a brief montage of what the media has been saying, watch this clip).
While the latter part might be somewhat true, I mean without jobs and hope for a future of course they have ample time on their hands; however, they are far from whining and disorganized and there is a clear message. What is that message? In short it is this: America belongs to the people, not to the banks or the corporations, but to the people and we want it back where it belongs…in our hands. In detail, the message is multi-faceted because there is more than one issue and the problems we face are complex. Although, much of it boils down to that fact that we, the 99%, are facing economic hardships and a wealth disparity rivaled only by that seen before the Great Depression.
We, the 99%, are falling deeper and deeper into debt for daring to seek an education and/or own a home. Young Americans are going into tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt just to get as much as a Bachelors or a Masters degree. To put it into perspective how ridiculous this is, most teachers possess at least a Bachelors and their average starting salary in the US is only $39,000. As the economy in the US shifted from manufacturing that paid very well to services that tend to pay little, obtaining a college degree has become the only way by which most Americans can hope to secure a sound financial future; yet, in order to obtain it we’re being forced to choose between the exorbitant debt of a college education or the abject poverty that comes with working for places like Walmart. But, as this article from AlterNet discusses, as corporate America finds new ways to do business over seas, young Americans find that their college degrees are sometimes no guarantee for employment.
We, the 99%, are facing rising rates of poverty while the 1% enjoys ever increasing prosperity. Presently, the top 1% of Americans control 40% of the wealth, leaving the other 99% of us to split what remains. As the present meme goes, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid.” Just look at those numbers again: 40% of all wealth in the US is concentrated in the hands of a mere 1% of the population, while the remaining 60% is distributed, unevenly, amongst the remaining 99%. Doesn’t sound right, does it?
According to page 14 of the US Census Bureau’s 2010 report entitled “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010,” poverty in the US is currently 15.1%. This figure is an increase from that reported in 2009, which was 14.3%. According to the Census Bureau’s reports, the poverty rate in the US is increasing consecutively each year and has risen 2.5 percentage points since 2007. At this moment, 46.2 million Americans are living poverty, last year it was 43.6 million. This means that at any given moment any one of us could become part of that ever growing number. We can’t keep going like this.
We have many problems facing this nation, many issues that must be solved, most of which directly and negatively affect the lives of the 99%. Our infrastructures and our public schools are in dire need of attention, yet our tax dollars go toward wars and subsidies for entities bent on breaking us. But we see now that we are in this together, and that together we are stronger than they are. We are the 99%. We are the unemployed, the under employed, the uninsured, and the evicted. We are the college graduates, the nurses, the teachers, the police, the postal workers, the firefighters, the soldiers, the laborers, and the homemakers. We have been thrown into debt by the callous greed of corporations and banks that dare to manipulate the “American Dream” for outrageous profits. That dream is dead. It’s over. And, perhaps that is ok because we, the 99%, are awake now and we have a message for them: You can keep your American Dream, we’re ready for an American goal.