I am in the 99 percent. A member of the majority tired of large corporations running wild at the expense of the American people. It is not a surprise to see the spontaneous Occupy movement, racing its way across the nation like a Santa Ana wildfire. Still in its infancy and growing stronger every day, the real question is whether it will last or fizzle as people get tired and move on to something else. With so many people out of work, starving and losing homes, fizzling out is not likely.
As it gains momentum, Occupy is finally getting a semblance of leadership and defined goals backed by legions of people disgusted over the way our country is run and the boundless greed of the powerful and wealthy.
Large banks and corporations have left middle class Americans on the brink of poverty. Daily lives are now dictated by the ups and downs of stock markets, crude oil prices and gold markets. How and what we feed our families depends on the whims of Wall Street. Unemployment is at a 40-year high as corporations sweep up billions in profits and cast aside loyal workers. Average citizens suffer the repercussions of reckless investments, a crumbling housing market, crushing the hopes of students trying to earn an education to ensure a better future. Tuition increased and spots for students in public universities shrunk as our government cuts education funding to balance collapsing budgets wrecked by Wall Street and our nation’s gluttonous banks. More than 670,000 would-be California community college students have been locked out. This does not bode well for the economic health of our state.
Too many politicians are ignorant of the impacts on Main Street as they serve Wall Street. Getting an education today is as competitive as searching for a job. Even our best students cannot get into our region’s state university. It is taking students twice as long to get in and out of college as budgets shrank and classes disappear. Students are left with very few often-inferior choices. Private universities cost twice that of public schools, and both options bury students under mountains of debt before they even have a chance to begin a career.
Supplicant elected officials, with their special earmarked projects and support of corporate giants who buy their own private Congress are not sitting well with the American people.
As we enter 2012 elections, politicians better start listening to the meager 99 percent. We are the core fuel that can reboot the economy by becoming educated and becoming productive citizens. Democrats and Republicans alike are in trouble and have a lot to prove to their own constituents, a pissed off people who demand a change in how things are happening in the world.
Promises mean nothing when high-speed transit systems and corporate hijinx all the way down to SWC’s own Prop. R projects take precedence over the needs of the students and unemployed struggling to make in through this recession alive.
Occupy has the potential to become one of the greatest grassroots movements in decades. It would not be the first time We The People united and created a cascade of events to change the face of America. The Civil Rights Movement and sexual revolution of the 1960s brought permanent change to the face of America. Now, with wealth concentrating in the hands of a few at the expense of hundreds of millions, the 99ers are starting to get angry.
A sleeping dragon has awakened. We will be scrutinizing every movement and dollar elected officials decide upon as they race to gain control of our nation. People demand to be heard. If you are in the 99 percent, let all your elected officials know. Government sees us as Lilliputians to be kicked around, but remember the story—it was their sheer numbers that took down the giant.