image via Slate.com
I’m posting late today because due to the state of “Severe Hangover Stage 5 Red Dragon Death Execution” I worked myself into yesterday, I had to work extra-much today and I’ll have you know that in addition to being some lady who writes manic posts in a tiny corner of the blog world, I also have a real life and 2 jobs and sometimes they interfere with this here internet writing.
I know! I think it’s bullshit too.
But if nothing else, the blogging gives Adam great fodder for arguments when he can say snarkily “Oh why don’t you just go write about this on your BLOG, Madeleine!” and I hiss back “You know what Adam? MAYBE I WILL” and then we both tilt our heads at each other and smile a little.
I’m so happy to have given him that.
Today I ingested a lot of information. Ever since I stumbled on We Are The 99% yesterday I’ve become a little obsessed with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
I am allowing myself a small sliver of hope that perhaps the enormous dissatisfaction that Americans are feeling about the state of their country, their economy and their collective values, will goad them into action. I am hopeful that this collective unrest will move them to protest and raised voices, strident and simply not willing to be ignored any longer.
I hope this, but I also hate myself because I feel deep down that it won’t happen.
I feel that North Americans, us Canadians included, have been lulled into passivity by commercialism and convenience. In this scenario it’s as though animal-rights activists are trying to liberate us from the slaughterhouse and we stand before an open gate, dumb to the possibilities beyond, thinking: “Escape sure seems like a lot of work”.
(Prove me wrong guys!)
I was also thinking about perception vs. reality. I’m Canadian and have visited the US, mostly on vacation, but I can’t pretend to truly know the country.
As I perused the pages of 99%, I realized, a little surprised, that most of my perceptions of the US come from pop culture and reality TV shows, Hollywood and Washington.
I’m careful to not make those assumptions about countries I regard as “foreign”, there I would worry about trading in stereotypes and generalizations, but I’ve never examined my views of the US with the same scrutiny. I’m embarassed to say that I truly didn’t realize that the majority of Americans were struggling or maybe I just didn’t understand the extent to which they – YOU- are struggling.
Clicking through the pages and pages and PAGES of people, “normal” people who can’t afford to pay rent or eat, people who have been bankrupted, BANKRUPTED, because they got cancer or their child became ill… I had no idea there were so many.
I had no idea the numbers were so great – or perhaps the impact is such because now I’m not looking at numbers, I’m looking at people.
Yes, there are pressing issues in developing nations but it’s also important to address THIS issue, now, because many of those developing countries are trying to mold themselves in America’s image and they deserve better than that.
This movement gave me pause, and I hope hope HOPE with all of my being that something comes of it. I hope we have not grown too passive, too complacent, too docile to insist upon change.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.
You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.
But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
-Elizabeth Warren (via Sociological Images)
Good luck, the world is watching.