On Occupying Places and the Weekend

I love my friends.

I have friends who like knitting, libraries, philosophy, drinking, sports, adventure, techno music, rap music, nature…My friends don’t always like everything about each other. They don’t always like everything they like at one time.
But the one thing my friends have in common in their passion. They are all incredibly passionate about something. E is passionate about law. M is passionate about books, literature, and libraries. J is passionate about music and film. I am passionate about the human experience and how our sexuality plays a part in that.

I love having the kind of friends that you can really argue with. Not petty fights, but full-on actual factual arguments. There is a line between asshole intellectual and spirited debater that we all walk really well. I don’t ever feel as though anyone is being disrespected or talked down to, and that’s why I think our debates always end well.

M and I, even though we’re a thousand miles away from each other, spend a lot of our time doing that. She’s the logical side of the team, I’m the emotions. So when I’m hoping, she’s laying out figures. When she’s she’s following the facts, I try to sway her with feelings and gut reactions.

In that way, we are a really good team. Surprisingly enough, we travel really well together. She does maps, I do motivation. The two of us always find ourselves in wonderful, life-affirmingly insane situations.

Today, we’re chatting about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

We’ve talked Tea Party comparisons, the aim of both movements, the rise of the 53% as a reaction to the 99%. We differ on our opinions of the effectiveness of Occupy Wall Street.

I think that even though the movement has no official structure and that even though it supports a wide variety of interests, it has the potential to foster positive dialog about the political system in this country. A lot of people don’t know the specifics about corporate tax law (I certainly don’t know much), and a lot of people choose to ignore things they don’t understand.

My hope for the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it will raise the voting rates, particularly among the youth. I hope that these protests foster a sense of hope rather than the prevailing despair. Think  “peaceful progress” rather than “might as well keep slogging on.”

I am so pro-protesting. I may not agree with everything (and they’ve been very clear to say that no one has to agree – everyone is autonomous within this movement), but I agree that things need to change. As they chant, “corporate greed has got to go!” I feel proud of my peers, of my fellow citizens. Peacefully, they’ve mobilized a nationwide movement (granted, its origins are rather interesting) that aims to shed light on the current financial situation.

There are no quick fixes. There are no concrete solutions. But there is positive discussion, the spreading of information, the ability to feel as though your voice has been heard. And “this is what democracy looks like.”

There are Tumblr accounts that I’d like to highlight:

http://the53.tumblr.com/ and http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

Both show people holding up signs talking about their statuses in the world. We are the 99 Percent talks about the struggle and The 53 is a reaction to the perceived “whines” of the 99 Percent.
I get that.

The We are the 99 Percent Tumblr is a constant downer. But it’s what really made me realize how difficult things are for people. I mean, I complain a lot, but I’m educated, employed, not drowning in debt, and stable. I’m happy. I’m not looking to drive a sick Aston Martin (or am I?) but I’d also like to really start buckling down on starting my IRA (2012, baby).
They talk about forgiving student loan debt. That’s impossible. You knew you’d have to pay those loans back someday, and you signed for them. Sorry, it’s true.
They talk about corporate bailouts. They’re completely correct.

The 53 talks about, as M put it, lying down and taking it. They talk about not being a part of the 99 percent. They talk about how Wall Street has no part in their lives.
They talk about how they have jobs and no tattoos. About how they’re sick of paying for the 99 percent.

But I argue that the 53 percent are conceding that the system is a mess, even if they don’t realize it.

I argue that the 53 percent don’t understand the impact that the financial sector has on their lives. We are all tied together; there is no way that any single person is removed from the actions of their government. We are collectively responsible for the decisions that are being made, even if it appears that we have no say. As an American abroad, you will be subjected to questions about your president, your bills, your wars, your legislation. Don’t you think you’ll want to be able to explain it?

I attended a private college and graduated with no student loans. I have worked since I was 16. I got scholarships, grants, and am very blessed to have a family that adores me. I currently work full-time in a job I don’t want to do forever, but it pays my bills. I am constantly learning new things. I love the people I work with. I am respected. I babysit on the side because I don’t make enough to cover everything. I have no savings. I am fully responsible for every single one of my bills, except for healthcare, because my mom is awesome. I am financially independent. I belong to a credit union and maintain zero balance on my credit card.
I am not bitching or complaining (today) but I worry about my future. I want to be able to retire and to send my kids to college.

I want to live in a peaceful world. I want to be satisfied that my government has my best interests at heart. I want to believe that my representatives are competent. I want to have faith in our humanitarian efforts. I want to feel as though I am a productive member of society. I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I entered it. I don’t think that corporations should get to make the laws, or pay the people who make the laws. I don’t think that CEOs should receive multi-million dollar severance packages.

That’s why I am a part of the 99%. I believe in hope.

(Cue the Angels in the Outfield kid. That’s really what the world needs…)

This weekend is a Mom and Katie Away weekend. We’re headed up to Winter Park to use a Groupon I foolishly purchased in the summer. (Never buy Groupons that are for anything but food! The Tommy’s Thai Groupon: best purchase of my life. Weekend in Winter Park? Undecided.)

I am excited for hiking, for swimming, for sleep, and mostly, not to have to deal with anything for a couple of days.

I got my new phone today, so I’ll be testing out the camera on it. Be excited to finally have a blog with pictures on it again! (I know I certainly am!)

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