As the American public sits on their freedoms, our mobile devices bring clips of foreign populations fighting for the right to matter. We stubbornly believe our Constitution guarantees that our democratically-elected governments will honor the document. We respond with a receptive tool of political correctness and accept what we’re told without disclosure of facts. Our history has been to pacify our delusion by reciting noisy bandwagon jargon that promotes our brand.
I don’t do a lot of boo-hooing for families earning $445,000 annually. However, in today’s economy they cautiously tread water to sustain their position in the class. Their employment is unsecured; their risk-based retirement savings potential is dependent on outside circumstances they do not control; and their lifestyle options are weighted against rising costs.
The in-betweeners ($100,000-$250,000) are also low on my sympathy scale. This group believed their own hard work and self-initiative was responsible for their success. They stepped on those that couldn’t pass their snobbish work-ethic and deemed them solely accountable for their lack of position. Today they’re not feeling as smug. They accept lower salaries and benefits to hang onto their jobs. They look over their shoulders as employers hire fresh faces that will do more and work for less.
The middle class of five years ago use their $50,000/yr salaries to pay the bills. There are no leftovers. They keep the same cell phone for the contract period. They repair rather than replace. The designer duds are in stores they walk past. They do not qualify for home ownership. They drive their cars beyond the paid-off period. They are one layoff or unplanned expense away from the class below them.
Of course, the bottom rung of the economic ladder is poverty. They scrap together a frugal lifestyle that wears on human dignity. Most work multiple low-paying jobs but are required to prove they qualify for any assistance. They are 16% of the population and twenty million of them are children.
Corporate America has turned our country upside down. They are too big to fail and destroy competition by merging to become even bigger. They control the availability of product and confidently know we have no choice but to pay what they charge. All levels of our government use our tax dollars to shove more money into corporate pockets.
Intimidating as it seems, we can have government for its intended purpose of governance. We can coexist with businesses willing to be responsible corporate citizens. We the people need to circle the wagons around our declining economic class position to reclaim our country. Because we do not trust each other, we will not act like Egypt as we can’t amass a thousand people who will agree on anything. Our only similarity to them is that our political leaders are as unresponsive to our messages as theirs and their conglomerates are as greedy as ours. As yet, we are unable to distinguish the difference between ‘for the people’ and ‘at the cost to the people.’
Despite economic status, our common interests center on the people who make up our communities. We are the resources and are already in place; a basic network of self-help and the social lifeline of self-worth. Learning to effectively use our talents will begin with desire for change, design of the change, dedication to be involved and determination to get a positive outcome.
Read literature on subjects germane to your community. A contribution of knowledge enhances discussion. Running your mouth shuts it down. Personal agendas promote argument. Include these starters on your own list:
- Self-help Community Development
- Youth programs
- Public Education
- Aid through Medicaid and Food Stamp programs
- Social Security and Medicare
- Self-contained child-care
- All-age participation
- Independent political discussion groups
Check your tolerance meter on media sources and political depictions of economic problems as race-based and race-affected. Such illustrations on topics such as welfare queens, voter suppression, stand your ground, stop and frisk, free school lunch, food stamps and backpack giveaways are promoted to make ownership a racial issue. Bias application defeats the purpose of identifying bad laws and poverty ranks. These are American problems. When we know each other, we will stand up for each other.
Find a way to become part of the 99% because it’s doubtful you are a 1%er.