Saturday, October 8, 2011
I found this picture at We Are the 99 Percent. The slogan, "We are the 99 percent," refers to economic inequality in this country.
This person is doing rather well in this economy. He writes, "I personally make over $100,000 per year because I chose my graduate degree wisely." Good for him. Does he mean to imply, though, that all those who are struggling in this economy chose poorly, by either not going to college or by choosing the wrong major? Does he mean to imply that everyone who works hard but barely gets by should suffer because they didn't "choose wisely"? There is a deeper question here: should what one does with her life be determined solely by the market? Are the only worthwhile vocations in our society the ones that earn a living wage or better? And here is the deepest question: why should we automatically assume, as this gentleman has, that market realities are acceptable, preferable, and above reproach?
This man writes, "I don't have cable or satellite; I don't use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs as they are a waste of time and money. I drive a paid off seven-year-old vehicle 90 minutes to work EACH way." Good for him. But I can't help but wonder whether this man has been soaking up Heritage Foundation and Fox News propaganda intended to show that much of the 99% really isn't poor because so many of us own microwave ovens and DVD players. Maybe he, like Phil Gramm, thinks that much of the 99% is in a mental recession and their whining should be ignored. Maybe he thinks that all those whiners among the 99% could improve their lot in life if they simply got rid of their cable T.V. and stopped buying brand new cars, whiskey, and heroin.
The man also writes, "I have joined the US military BOTH times we were at war in Iraq to serve my country." Let me first say that I thank you for your service and the sacrifices you have made for our country. I wonder why it is relevant to the issue at hand, though. Are you implying that you are doing better in life than many of the 99% because you served your country? How would you explain that, exactly? Do you mean to imply that you are better than many of the 99% who haven't served? Do you mean to imply that your opinions carry extra weight simply because you served your country? Let me assure you, they do not. Your service is irrelevant to this issue, sir. Your use of ethos here is a mere rhetorical trick and is unrelated to the merit of your views.
The man writes, "I support individual liberty and individual responsibility. I believe people should work to support themselves and not live off others." Does he mean to imply that many of us in the 99% do not support individual liberty, that we're not responsible, that we don't want to support ourselves, that we want to live off others? Seriously? We want a country and an economy in which a responsible person can work to support herself and live comfortably without undue fear of economic hardship. We live in a country in which wealth is rewarded; we want a country in which work is rewarded. We want a country and an economy that rewards those who play by the rules. You seem to think that those of us who are suffering in this economy are getting what we deserve. That, sir, is offensive. And if you knew how clueless you are, you would be embarrassed and ashamed.
The man writes, "I do not feel that other people owe me anything." Then you, sir, are part of the problem. Employers owe those of us who are lucky enough to be employed big time. While society may not owe anything to the millions of unemployed who were chewed up and spat out by this economy, society has plenty reason to look after them until they are able to get back on their feet.
The man writes, "I am the 99% but I don't begrudge the 1%!" Neither do we. I know that comes as a surprise to this man, who has been taught by the conservative media that many of the 99% are upset simply because they hate wealthy people. We are upset because we are not be treated fairly in this economy. Many economists simply assume that common practices in our economy are just solely in virtue of the fact that they are common. And they rake other economists (e.g., Paul Krugman) over the coals for disagreeing with that view. But you do not have to be a sociopath, like those economists, sir. You can recognize that there are things in life other than profit that are valuable and worthwhile, like health and dignity.
The man refers us to www.daveramsey.com. Here's my question: what fucking good is advice from Dave Ramsey in an economy like this where there are no jobs and no opportunities for many of the 99%? What about those who, through no fault of their own, can't even afford rice and beans, beans and rice for dinner? If someone finds herself without a job, is it necessarily all of her fault? Aren't certain presidential candidates who believe that it is simply out of their fucking minds? Isn't it completely obvious that the path a person's life takes is determined not only by her choices but also by circumstances out of her control? Yes.
Sir, I personally welcome you to the 99%. But could you please stop assuming that you know anything about the rest of us, please? Thank you!
Posted by Φ at 12:12 PM
- ▼ October (6)
- ► 2010 (232)
What I'm Following
For your further edification and amusement
- Collative Learning: Film Reviews and Analysis by Rob Ager
- DGM Live
- Gospel of Inclusion
- Green Party of the United States
- Mystery Science Theater 3000
- Pandora Radio
- Prog Archives
- Rip Rowan, "Over The Limit"
- Skepticblog: Ten Major Flaws of Evolution: A Refutation
- Slate Magazine
- Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies
- South Park Studios
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Star Trek
- The Baseball Scorecard
- The Onion
- The World's Biggest Pac-Man
- Turn Me Up!