Hey, you busy? Not doing much?
You feel like sobbing like a baby?
Then read the We Are The 99 Percent tumblr.
It’s just a collection of personal stories from people who have worked hard within this cruelly rigged system … people who went to school, sacrificed, did what they were supposed to do, and found that in modern America, being really smart and working really hard and making all the right choices just isn’t enough anymore.
That’s all it is.
It’s not arguing for a political party, it’s not pro- or anti- Obama, it’s just personal stories about how fucked and unsupportable our current level of inequality is.
Because, see, it’s not just that ‘this is a hard time for everyone.’ As Ezra Klein said, “There are a lot of people who are getting an unusually raw deal right now. There is a small group of people who are getting an unusually good deal right now. That doesn’t sound to me like a stable equilibrium.”
This is why Occupy Wall Street is gaining so much traction.
Just being alive shouldn’t be so fucking scary.
Selections from the tumblr and commentary beneath the cut.
I am a military brat and a veteran.
I have lost friends and family to wars fought to make other people rich.
FUCK YOU 1%
I want my Uncle John back.
WE ARE THE 99%
LOL GET A JOB, HIPPIE!
There are a lot of notes from veterans, actually. It turns out that after you get back from fighting an unnecessary war, the government would kind of like it if you would fuck off, please. There’s no place for you.
Of course, there’s no place for a lot of us. Here’s a woman who tried to play by the rules:
I’m a 33 Year Old Woman.
I did EVERYTHING RIGHT:
- state college (low tuition)
- worked to pay for my double degree
- paid my credit card every month
- got a modest car and paid off early
- started a retirement account at age 26
I’ve had no income for ~2 years.
I have no health insurance.
I’m watching my savings dwindle, + don’t know what I’ll do when my “retirement” is over!
The other day my car was stolen, and my first thought was relief that I might cross car insurance + gas off my expense list even though now I’ll have to walk 2 miles back and forth to the library to look for work.
I am no slacker.
I am the 99%.
LOL GET A JOB, HIPPIE!
See, for decades, when someone would fall through the cracks of society, we’d be told that it was their own fault … that if only they’d been smarter, more diligent, planned better, they wouldn’t be in this situation. That’s not the case any more. Not that it ever was, I guess.
A big part of what makes things scary, of course, is health care. A disproportionate number of the posts on the tumblr are about health care costs and availability. I don’t think people with good health care understand what a pipe dream it is for the rest of us. And also, I don’t think they understand how close to they edge they likely are. Here are two.
I am a match to donate a kidney to a friend.
I am also unemployed and have no health insurance (laid off of my job of 20 years).
Was told by the hospital, largest in MD, and friend’s health insurer, largest in the nation, that I must pay for pre-op exams.
The health of my friend should not depend on my lack of money & the greed of corporations.
I am the 99%.
THAT HIPPIE AND HER FRIEND SHOULD BOTH GET JOBS, LOLAMIRITE?
Next, the story of a mother’s death, accompanied by a picture of what I assume is a box containing her ashes:
My mother had no job, no home, and no healthcare to treat the mental and physical deterioration she suffered.
She committed suicide on 7/8/2010
She was the 99%.
As much as heath care, care for families plays a part. It’s tragic, really … we want so badly to take care of those we love, and often there’s just no way. I don’t know how these people handle it. Two stories of mothers on the edge.
First, a mother of five:
I am the mother of five children. I lost my job 2 years ago as the manager of a hair salon when the bad economy forced it to close. My husband left me and after a year long battle with the bank trying to get a loan modification, Citimortgage is foreclosing on my home. I live in fear everyday. No one will rent to an unemployed, single parent who survives solely on child support. I am the 99 percent. For pity’s sake, someone help us.
How can that not break your heart? “For pity’s sake, someone help us.” You can hear the desperation. Of course, as we all know, that hippie should just get a job.
Finally, the one that sent me out of the room, sobbing. The one that made me write this post:
I am 4 years old. My mom can’t afford to buy me winter clothes, even from the thrift store. She couldn’t buy me a birthday present either. I have never seen her cry so hard!
I am the 99%
I can’t even imagine. Jesus. “Get a job, hippie,” seems inappropriate here, so instead I’ll express the same sentiment in some slightly different language:
“If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
I’ll end this with something I wrote a while back on Metafilter. It’s my own story.
[This] makes me think of my 23 year old girlfriend who just graduated from college.
She put herself through with zero help from her parents, the first in her family to attend college, was actually thrown out of her home junior year for no longer being a Jehovah’s Witness, graduated with a double major and a minor … all in all, she’s a fucking bad-ass.
Her bad-assery faded though when she was dumped from her office job without explanation about 6 months before graduation, though. And of course, since she was attending college full time, no unemployment for her.
Sure, she sort of managed to kinda/sorta/almost make ends meet through a string of shitty, illegally exploitative part time jobs (WHOOPS! Looks like we forgot to pay you for 2 months! Over Christmas! And didn’t answer our phones! Oh well. I guess if you want to keep working for us you’ll need to endure the ritual humiliation and debasement of us lecturing you on how unprofessional it was to get upset about that.), but mostly it was my assistance that kept the lights on and the water flowing.
And I’ll tell you, I went into debt and it wrecked my credit. She went into debt and it wrecked her credit. She had to blow off her student loan payments for months on end. Neither of us are pot-and-PBR types. We’re hard workers. we just got unlucky enough to live in the Bay Area in the late 2000′s. Of course, the crowning blow was a late-night trip to the emergency room after she passed out randomly one afternoon. No insurance + ER trip = $10,000 neither of us have.
And look … we’re going to be okay. She has a mostly decent job now. We’ve had a lot of help from my parents. Student loans are a godsend for me. She’s very talented, and we’re both smarter than most people. She’s paying off her student loans and her ER bill, and luckily her passing out wasn’t life-threatening or the sort of thing that requires long-term care. We’re putting it all back together. We were very lucky.
BUT, that’s the point.
WE WERE VERY LUCKY.
But there are a lot of people who don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend who can help carry the load.
There are a lot of people who don’t have parents who are willing or able to help.
There are a lot of people who aren’t smarter or prettier or more talented than the people around them.
There are a lot of people who to to the ER and discover that they’ve got a condition that requires daily treatment that they’ll never be able to afford.
We’re hard fucking workers, but if you think that’s enough anymore, you’re delusional.
We got lucky.
We are the 99%
And, almost certainly, you are too.
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