Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm the 99% But I'm Not Lazy

I am incensed with the insistence that the Occupy people are lazy and need to get jobs. 

"Yeah, yeah," you think.  "Say something we haven't heard before from a million other malcontents."   

Okay, I will. 

I don't defend moron protesters who burn the flag.  I refuse to make excuses for violent participants.  I generally don't take part in sit-ins and the like for the simple reason that I don't trust crowds.  There are always idiots who detract from the message by acting like, well, idiots.

This is not to say I wouldn't ever participate in a live demonstration, a march or  a public protest.  I have, but only two because as I said, I don't trust crowds.  The two I chose were the anti-Westboro Baptist Church demonstration in Woodbridge, VA, and the anti-Immigration Resolution protest in Prince William County, VA (pre-modification of that resolution, which, by the way, VA government has proposed to revive and worse, at the state level). 

Why those two causes?  Because both WBC and the PWC powers were advocating hatred and discrimination against people I love.  Make no mistake--it was personal, and some members of the Board of County Supervisors made it even more personal.  But that's not what I want to write about.  I want to write about another cause that is personal to me. 

I want to say I've been screwed over by the corporate system, and that system includes big bankers (Sallie Mae in particular) as well as the educational system (Union Institute, living off big business and sanctioning government entities).  I want to say these "people" (and they are, after all, eligible for corporate personhood, right?) ruined my chances at ever crawling out of a hole of debt, and they have put the price on the taxpayers, whom we know are mostly the middle class.

Okay, so I've been ripped off.  And I'm a dissident who doesn't typically join massive protests but understands many of the people who do. 

And I work three fucking part-time jobs, take care of my family and volunteer.

Furthermore, I have family members who cannot get decent jobs because the unemployment rate is still high.  People are out of work, are underpaid and living beneath the poverty level, and it's not because they are lazy.  But do you know what I've actually heard?  "Oh, well, I don't know any of those people." 

How can someone not know any of those people?  It must be because there is a segment of the United States that would rather turn a blind eye or pass judgement.  This segment is comfortable, and even if they are part of the middle class, it's easier to sit on the laurels of the prevailing ideology than it is to take a painful look around.

Don't get me wrong.  Not everyone who looks away is a bad person.  Not every rich person is bad, either.  There might be valid reasons why these folks can't acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.  They might have issues of their own.  But there are too many others who choose to judge because they think the poor and the dissenters jeopardize wealth and prosperity.  Instead of helping out, they fight to not have to help out.  They'd rather say, "Get off your lazy ass and work."

To which, in my current disposition, after drinking a heavy cup of coffee and reading the local news, I say, "I am working as best I can.  I am not lazy.  I'm part of the 99%.  And so are many of my loved ones, thank you very much.  So fuck you and the dollar bills you floated in on, bitch."

There.  I feel much better now.  
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