I am a part of 99%. Up until two months ago I was absolutely the working poor. One month ago my food stamps ran out, but now that my income is above the poverty line, I earn too much to reapply. I still need bailouts from The Bank of Stanley & Crystal.
I also understand my privilege in all of this. I definitely could have chosen to be a commercial performer in the entertainment business instead of a concert dancer. I am certainly bright enough to have gone to law school or business school or pursue some other profession that guarantees huge annual salaries. (Even though paying off those professional school loans would have majorly set me back for sometime anyway.) But I didn’t. It’s not my passion or purpose to do those things and I am okay with that. I’m not in this life for the money.
Yes, I want to be able to live without worry. No, I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. Yes, I think the American versions of capitalism and democracy are incredibly flawed. Yes, I think government and big business are way too intertwined. Yes, I think there needs to be a revolution in this country so that the wealth is more evenly spread. And yes, I am happy that a world wide population of people are mobilizing after what has seemed to be an unending era of apathy and complacency that has spanned my lifetime in the U.S.
|Exhibit A: The original Adbusters ad poster doesn't even answer its own question.|
I didn’t think so.
Big business has been funding (read: influencing) our government since its establishment. The end. That's not going to change over night, and it's definitely not going to change with setting up some tents in the park outside the sky scrapers downtown.
More than anything though, I think what gets under my skin is the incredible privilege demonstrated by those participating in this on a daily basis. The number one reason why I will not occupy Wall Street is because I have to go to work. And I'm pretty sure that anybody else who really is concerned about paying their New York City rent, ConEd, keeping some food in the refrigerator, and paying down their student loans is also at work. Honestly, the only people who can afford to sit outside for a month and a half are people who have nothing to lose any way, and that is not the 99%. Maybe it is the growing 9.1% of the unemployed, but I repeat, it is not the 99%.