There are so many people in the U.S.. And in the land of opportunity, so few of us will find financial wealth. I, myself, don’t need to be wealthy. I just want to be free to make an honest living, making enough money to live well, without having to kill myself over it, sacrificing everything else that is important to me including family, health, and sanity.
I imagine that this may be the same “American dream” that many others have. I really don’t mind being part of the 99%. I just don’t want to live at the mercy of the 1%. Which, unfortunately, seems to be the way it is, really. He who has the money, controls the world. In our democracy, we are supposed to all be equal with the same rights and the same powers of free speech and vote. But we all know that isn’t exactly true.
Even the punishment for criminal acts is lessened if you can afford to pay for it. If you can afford the best lawyer and pay the most fines, you can just about get away with murder. Anyone who has ever had any kind of legal issues knows that it is just a matter of buying your way out, if you can afford to do so. These days, it’s more like if you do the crime, you have to pay the fine. Or if you can’t afford that, then you have to do the time.
As far as free speech goes, we’ve all seen here recently from the Occupy movement that speech is only “free” to those saying what the rich want to hear or with enough money to be able to pay so that no one minds. As for each of us having an equal vote, this may be true, but we all know that anyone that is in the position to be voted into any office of major importance is someone that (1)is wealthy themselves (2) is very good at getting money out of other people, and/or (3) is a puppet for the people who DO have the money. In the first case, this person will probably not really be able to relate to the issues of us on the lower end of the income scale. The second person may be equally scary just for the fact that they are apparently very good at talking me out of my hard-earned money. And the third person is probably the last kind of politician we need, but unfortunately, is probably the most common. To be a successful politician, you really have to have money, however you get it. Just like you have to have money to get away with breaking the laws, you also have to have money to make them.
I think the Occupy movement is a great cause, and I think most people are supportive of it also. We all want to change the world for the better. Economic change would be a good start. The most complaints I have heard about the movement is its seeming lack of direction or set agenda. I see no problem with this. To say that you know the ultimate goal or what needs to happen is to imply that you know how to fix it. Politicians do this all the time, when they really don’t know the answers, they’re just trying to get everyone else to buy into their crap so that they can get voted into their office and ultimately follow their own agenda. It’s only natural.
The Occupy movement doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but they have done a really great job getting people to stop and admit that there is a problem. They are encouraging people to look to our political systems and the people we have chosen to lead us and ask “How and why did it get this bad? And what are we going to do to fix it?” The movement has caused a definite rise in awareness. Not a rise in the awareness of how financially unstable we all are, we already know that, but an awareness of the fact that while the majority of us wonder how we will pay off debts and send our children to school, the wealthiest of Americans continue to increase in income and even make money off of our debt with their high interest rates and their increased ability to invest, allowing them to make money off of just the simple fact that they have the money.
The Occupy movement has not only made us aware of this, but has also given us hope that maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe there can be a change if we all come together. Maybe we can make a better world for our children and even ourselves. Maybe we can have a democracy that is true to all of its citizens instead of resembling a hierarchy, as it so often does, with the wealthiest of people playing the part of the powerful aristocrats.
I’ve recently heard a lot of talk about “where should the Occupy movement go next?”. I don’t really think they should “go” anywhere. I think the movement should continue to peacefully raise awareness and hope. I also think that one way it could benefit the citizens of the 99% is to work to educate each other and empower ourselves with knowledge. There are a lot of people in 99% of Americans with a lot of knowledge that we could share with one another and become a stronger people and force. In this, I mean everything from financial advice to government and politics to healthcare. Teaching in any area where people could learn more would in turn create a stronger society. And everyone has something to offer. In a time of economic crisis, the most obvious things that we could all learn a little more on may be financial advisement like how to be a smarter consumer, spend less, waste less, how to get out of debt and stay out of debt, how to avoid paying high interest rates or such monies that, in my opinion, are useless spending. People with experience in government and politics could teach us how to be more involved in our political processes, on local levels and higher levels of government. I am a 32-year-old mother who works full-time, and I can tell you honestly that I do not know a whole lot about how our government actually works. Of course, I took Political Science in school, but as far as how the political system really works on a local level and how to get involved so that the politicians that are in those offices may somewhat resemble what I believe in, I could definitely use some teaching in these areas. Learning how my local government works and how I can make sure my vote is counting will empower me and make me more knowledgeable when it comes to elections for higher offices.
Free, or at least very cheap, educational forums/workshops given by members of the 99% to members of the 99% will make us more knowledgeable and, therefore, more powerful. And everyone does have something to teach. Tax workers could teach better ways to file your taxes and maybe even how to do it on your own. People who work or have worked in insurance could teach how to smartly purchase insurance and get the most out of it. The majority of my money goes to taxes, insurance (of all kinds: health, home, car, etc), and interest rates on my debt. I imagine that many other people are the same. So these areas in particular, I think that we could all benefit financially by learning more about.
The possibilities of what we could teach each other are limitless, though. Healthcare providers, like myself, could teach on tips for healthy living and preventative health measures. Mechanics could teach how to cost-effectively take care of your vehicle without getting ripped off by some greedy automobile company. Psychologists could give tips on dealing with the psychological stress of debt and financial strain. Housewives could teach on ways to save money on groceries and finding time/ways to better our family lives and home environment. Everyone knows something, and sharing that knowledge with each other could empower us all. And, what a great community service to be a part of! If we can teach each other how to live better, spend smarter, get out of debt, and use our political system to make the laws/policies reflect the needs of the citizens, then we can
MAKE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE 99% MORE POWERFUL THAN THE WEALTH OF THE 1%!!
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…
The truth is I am a very hard worker and have gotten used to not having a lot of money. I am a RN, so I do have job security in my career, but I work VERY HARD for my money and hate to see it go to waste. I have, up to this point, really accepted life as it is. I will probably always work way too hard and not ever have the wealth others may know. I’m okay with that. What scares me is what the future holds for my children. If the rich get richer and the middle class is disappearing, what kind of world will my children live in? THAT IS WHAT SCARES ME THE MOST.