Every other day at least I take a look and read pages of personal stories on the site We Are the 99 Percent. I sit down with my 12-year-old half-American daughter and I explain to her what is going on back home. I show her videos of the protests. I want her to understand.
I recall, the first television I remember as a child were the body counts from Vietnam and the protest marches. Did those early images make me the politicized being I am today? Did having a father who worked in politics and advertising and dissected ads for me to show me how they were trying to sell me something teach me to never accept images and to raise my daughter with no television? Did it make me question the political money machine? Yes, most definitely. That and growing up in Texas around a good ole boy system which was most definitely rigged as our financial system is today.
Imagine growing up alongside a system which invented the Koch Brothers. The good part of it is I understand them, because I know them. And I know their weaknesses. This is one way to begin to undue the damage by the 1%. Target their weaknesses.
Every day (and I consider it a second job by now) I read articles, post on Twitter, write articles and research my documentary Financial Fascism about what is going on right now in much of the West. This wealth gap has occurred before... this kind of frightening repression of people's freedom of expression, mass arrests, has happened before. Read your history books. Do some research. It never ends well.
Some people, that 1% have "won" and the 99% have "lost"? Or have they?
I would argue that this movement which binds the majority together, and which is spreading around the world is making those who seem to have lost almost everything, stronger than ever.
So many people around the world support you. As your movement grows, it becomes the movement of ALL of us and the support is only growing. It is the humanity in the stories and the outrage which is beyond justified which is our strength.
I feel extremely lucky, and I am indeed. I have my health as does my daughter and my husband and his children. We have health care (we live in France). We have good public education here and transportation, and still some decent jobs... but for how long? It is beginning to catch up with those countries which have been well cushioned as well. In part, because we pay the high taxes many Americans do not want to pay. But we do not have thousands of former homeowners who have had to default and risk becoming homeless here. We do not have people who lose all they have worked for because someone in their family falls ill. It is unimaginable here. The system does not work that way. I appreciate and am thankful that my daughter is able to focus on school and not worry that her home might be taken away, or that she does not have enough healthy food to eat.
When I read the stories of those Americans who have gone abroad for jobs, health care or even just pure falling in love... I think, "We are the lucky ones"... but we had to leave our country to be lucky? I actually tell people that the benefits I had growing up in 1970s America, the quality of life I enjoyed, is now being enjoyed by my daughter precisely because we do NOT live in America! What is wrong with this picture? I LOVE my country. When I tried going back and wanted my child to experience America, I heard stories of the swapping, flipping, materialist culture and definitions of success which had nothing at all to do with what I believed in for my country.
I am proud we elected Obama. And I still believe he stands on the side of We The People. He says he understands, but it needs to go further, he needs to show he has truly chosen sides and will not be held prisoner to campaign funds from the 1%. We, the 99% elect the President (except when he happens to be a Bush and have a brother who is governor of the state which is deciding whether or not he will become President).
I know what it would have meant, even with a Ph.D. and no debt, to have been a single mother in America this past decade before I remarried. I worked for five years with single moms, and there is simply next to no support for them in America, and even less during this crisis. Single mothers are some of those who lose in the economic war.
When I went to school, good public universities cost next to nothing and even for more expensive graduate school one could receive tuition waivers and some income for a campus assistant teaching job. There were many scholarships to choose from. It was feasible to study abroad. Parents did not bankrupt themselves sending their children to college. Students are who are losing in this economic war.
I started a small company, opened an art gallery, worked for a university and a film festival, in a city where the Arts were supported and enjoyed my work in the US. But the wages were lower than what I earned over two decades ago! Yet those with less education, who produce absolutely nothing, have seen their salaries and bonuses skyrocket. Yet teachers and small business folks have to declare bankruptcy? How do you think your city, your nation is going to function if they cannot make ends meet? Small business owners, teachers, and public workers are losing in this financial war.
And one group, which it kills me to think about, are older retired people many who worked several decades and should now be able to not worry and enjoy the years they have left. The idea that the greed of the few abused, stole and played with their pensions, their retirement, is a sin. Those who have lost so much of their savings and retirement funds have lost in this economic war.
These people, who survived the Great Depression, did not go swapping and flipping and taking out subprime loans so when I hear the 1% blaming the 99% for losing while gambling on making a profit, it sickens me.
And what about veterans, who come back maimed with no VA funds to take care of them properly, who risked their lives to protect your profits? Those veterans who are joining now with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, a Vietnam vet 74 years of age was beat up yesterday by a Boston cop? What is this about America?
And when someone tried to stop the 1% from their fraudulent acts, and began asking some serious questions, doing some digging into your financial fraud... the 1% brought him down (Eliot Spitzer has also said he helped them bring him down with his own stupidity). We will be watching as you, the 1% as you will surely try to bring down others who try to stop you. But we are on to you. And we are watching your every move now. We will vote people into place who will be watching. We are ALL watching.
But as I wrote on Twitter yesterday, for all of us who have felt like the 1%'s credit default swaps, when we do better, you incur losses. And you will.
The workers who have seen jobs move abroad, the factories just over the border paying next to nothing, the hell bent fixation on profits before all else is ruining the United States. If I hear one more idiot like that Cain guy blame the poor for being poor, I cannot be held accountable for what I will write next. It won't be pretty.
Did you not feel this coming as you sucked the wealth out of your country? Did you not look in the mirror and think, "There but for the Grace of God go I?" Did no one teach you to treat your neighbor as you wish to be treated? Who raised these people!?
These 99% are not victims, they are taking action and binding together and telling their stories and fighting back. And their children will be and are now and forever changed by what they are experiencing. You, the 1%, you have not won. No, in fact, you lost all of us, for many generations to come. And your children will hold you responsible for what you did to our country.
And America will become an amazing place again, it still has the most optimistic and democratic people in the world. This time, we need to pay attention to the past, and to what is happening now, and not let it be repeated. This movement is like a jolt of energy, and I am so very proud to be an American when I see what will surely be remembered for generations to come, as the moment when the true spirit of America was reborn. Bravo 99%! As a wise Native American once said, "I am Another Yourself"!
Follow me on Twitter at: vivigive and visit my site: www.vigilante-vnm.com