The post below is from Michael Jones, a successful tech-world figure in California. When I asked whether he should be identified as part of "the 1%" -- which is relevant, considering the argument he makes -- he said, "more likely the 0.1%."
He also said, about his larger political perspective, that when it came to the current Occupy movement, "I have no political bond with them, disapprove of the sit-ins, see the claimed angst against Wall Street as mutually destructive, and so on." But, he said, "the motivation is so powerful that everyone in power MUST take appropriate heed. To do otherwise is 'let them eat cake.'" His professional and creative life involves understanding the ways in which networked communication and "big data" allow us to see the world in new ways. That is the background for this dispatch, which he stresses is his personal view and not that of any company or organization.
Blood and Sweat and Tears
By Michael Jones
Mr. President, you are not leading this Nation--you're just managing the Government! We're in trouble. Talk to us about blood and sweat and tears. The rallying cry of Occupy Wall Street? No, comments heard by then President Jimmy Carter and shared with America in his Crisis of Confidence speech of 1979. Now, years later, these words echo loudly and inspire urgent questions. Why have Americans young and old taken to the streets in anger, despair, and righteous indignation? What moral strength empowers their stoic endurance of baton beatings and pepper spray assaults? In less than fifteen minutes you will understand the answer and that knowledge will change you forever.
Hundreds of thousands of hard working, educated Americans--the "can do" types you want your children to be--stand on the precipice of the pit of doom. Many thousands of them have bared their soul in an autobiographical paragraph on the Internet where you can understand the issues behind Occupy Wall Street. Their dread has stripped them of pretension and given their words the profound honesty of a deathbed confession. Visit http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com to experience the people and stories of thousands who inspired Occupy Wall Street. For the next ten minutes, click each of the following. Spend a minute in their life, then click back to continue:If you still don't understand, perhaps one the 3,000+ other stories will help you realize that Americans just like you, your parents, children, and neighbors, are living a life of fear for their parents, old age, hunger, children, economy, debts, health, and future. Their blood, sweat, and tears send them to the streets. Facing a life of shattered dreams and lost faith in our country hurts them more than the pepper spray and batons. Yet they survive. They quote Wael Ghonim's "the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power."
- I am a different kind of 99%-er. If it weren't for my premature birth I would be Occupying too.
- I am 32 yrs old. My parents should be retired at their age of 74 and 66. Instead they are working to make ends meet.
- I am 66 years old, and don't plan to retire, ever.
- I can't afford to feed everyone so I pretend I'm not hungry so the kids can eat.
- I want to start a family someday, but the future looks dim.
- Mainstream media wants you to believe that I'm an unemployed punk that participates in anarchy and supports communism.
- I WANT TO WORK AND LIVE. "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" SEEMS A DISTANT DREAM.
- She had to wait 2 years before being cleared for disability services...What was a treatable cancer is now terminal.
- We must receive your check in the amount of $111,700.48 by 12/08/11.
- 21 year old daughter of two (veteran) parents, both laid off. I work three jobs on top of being a full-time student.
This is what is happening around us. It is indeed a crisis of confidence. A crisis that deserves our humanity and assistance. A crisis undeserving of political posturing, blaming, and denial. This widespread problem is more important than the bad behavior of some protestors. This is the sound of our own tired and the poor desperate to survive the gathering gloom. Ultimately, those who are our future are seeking a path out of darkness, or as Jimmy Carter said in that speech 32 years ago, If you lead, Mr. President, we will follow.
I know that Michael Jones's main hope is to draw attention to real-world testimony like that now accumulating at Wearethe99percent -- and remember, this from someone neither by circumstance nor by political outlook a part of that group. Worth reflecting upon.