October 19, 2011
I'm Not Your 99%...Don't Hate Me.
For the love, I swear I try to be an agreeable person. I don't comment on a lot of things I read on the web because I really don't want to stir the pot. Truthfully, I know sometimes I don't know enough about a subject to speak intelligently about it, so I keep my thoughts to myself. I make a big enough ass out of myself without giving anyone extra ammo. But, so help me God, I think I've had quite enough.
I might be off base here...it's been known to happen.
There is an upside to living in a small southern town: The economic pendulum doesn't swing as abruptly here. When everyone else is living the fat life, we're still living moderately; and, when it goes sour, we don't usually have a drastic drop. I didn't make that up either...I read it in a journal! I know there is unemployment here, and I know people who have lost their homes because of crappy mortgage situations and loss of jobs to pay for the home. I get that.
Here's where I get lost: I've read many of those "I am the 99%" pics. Some of them tug at your heart. (Yes, I have one.) I am sorry for those who lost their job and, subsequently, their homes. I regret people are having to forgo retirement and work longer. I feel sadness for those who aren't able to realize their dreams immediately because of our crappy economy. But.
Where did anyone make you sign the dotted line on those loan papers? Yes, I paid for my college education...and my debt covers THREE college degrees. I knew when I took that on there would be consequences. I knew I'd have to pay it off. My family does without things because of this debt. While there isn't a choice between this payment and food, it still affects what we can do. Our choices are based upon this. I realize that many people did the same thing assuming they could find a job and do that same thing. But it didn't.
I guess what I would like is for someone to tell me what the answer is. I agree healthcare is out of control. Once I paid a bill out of pocket for my daughter. The amount I paid was half the original bill: The office manager told me they had to charge double to recover their costs if the insurance company was paying for it. Hmm....
I think how banks handled the mortgage mess was atrocious. It wasn't just bad business, it was bad juju or karma or whatever you want to call it. What I also have to think is this....who was complaining when everyone was buying homes they truly couldn't afford? Who was worried when the loans enabled us to be George and Weezie and move on up? It was a huge buffet, and we stuffed ourselves on worthless shit. We didn't save money because we were buying big screen televisions and traveling to foreign countries to find ourselves. Would today be different if people had saved money and lived on money they had and not whipped out a credit card? I dunno...
I don't have any answers. However, I don't think anyone does. I hear chatter about occupying and ousting. If you can afford to sit in a park for four weeks, is life that bad? I glanced at the ows page, and I saw visitors could make donations. Really?! Here's an idea: Take the money you're gonna donate to some stranger sitting in a park and go buy your unemployed neighbor some groceries or help a family member get caught up on his mortgage. To me, that's effective change...reading peaceful protest books in your tent and keeping the whole damn town awake with a drum circle doesn't do it.
So, statistically, I'm the 99%. I should be upset and marching and demanding things, but I'm not. I don't want a hand-out from anyone. I don't want things to be free when they shouldn't be. Why am I supposed to be pissed because a man sitting in a corner office is making $10 million a year and I'm not? Jealous, maybe, but not pissed.
I guess what rubs me is that some of the people I know who are coming out in support of this haven't lost their jobs due to evil stock market people and collusion among those evil people and the idiot politicians we have. They have chosen not to work. Yes, they CHOSE it. They either live off mommy and daddy or they work under the table to avoid paying taxes. Um, if you're not paying taxes, who are you to criticize how much other people are paying? That is just wrong. Period.
We lived through a good chunk of time where all was good. Houses were big, cars were bigger, and there was no such thing as "no" to anything. I read an article the other day where a professor said this generation was not used to failure. This was a generation where everyone was always a winner, and they could not comprehend how to deal with NOT succeeding. According to him, they believed they graduated high school, attended college, then waltzed into the dream job, dream wife, dream home, dream whatever. Who the hell guaranteed that? Why is it someone else's fault you didn't win? Face it, someone has to lose. Sorry.
I think I'm rambling...well, yeah, I am. Maybe I'm missing the big picture. Maybe I'm not smart enough to get it. But, maybe, just maybe, I'm not your 99%...maybe there's a portion of those 99% who just want to do whatever and allow someone else to foot the bill. Maybe they want to go to school at the government's expense...oh, wait...that's my money. See how that works? It's not just the big, evil, thieves' money; it's my money. Our country is in horrifying debt, and we need to fix that. So those with more pay more...okay, I'm good with that. But it goes to pay down the debt, not to fund some whack-job project that has no glimmer of hope creating jobs or to add to the number of "assistance" programs we have.
My grandfather, who you might remember me saying in an earlier post was a great and wise man, lived through the Depression. When my dad talked of college, my grandfather said that was a great plan. He could be a rocket scientist if he wanted to! However, before he could do that, he had to learn a trade. So my daddy is one mean plumber and electrician. It's not his profession, but a skill. Guess what he could do if he lost his job? Yep, use those skills my grandfather was wise enough to pass along.
So, maybe the fault doesn't all lie at the feet of Wall Street. Maybe it lies, somewhat, with us. Those of us who signed the mortgage papers without reading the fine print...those of us who gambled on getting a better job when that interest rate went up...those of us who chose a major without regard of how we would use it...maybe, just maybe, it's time we step up and take our fair share of the responsibility.