Am I the 99%?

…well, technically, yes. According to my income I am in the 99%. I could benefit a lot from the changes they’re proposing, sure. But is this a cause I’m going to be passionate about? I’m still not certain.

I’m not a very political person. I tend to keep quiet about what I think and just nod along with the Liberals because I agree with a lot more things on that side than the other. I vote silently and stick the Obama pin on my lapel when I remember it. I think my gay friends should be allowed to be married someday. I think abortions are way more complicated than just “LIFE” or “CHOICE” and couldn’t tell you whether or not I’d ever have one if presented with the option but there are cases where that option should be available. Universal Healthcare is a nice idea. I don’t have money, so I don’t have much of an opinion about it. I would prefer less taxes so I can keep more of my money, but our country does need help and I wonder how else we would get money if we didn’t have to give it.

I don’t seem passionate about much, do I?

I’ve been lucky enough to stumble through two and a half “Occupy” protests (NYC, Maine, and one  very small group of people in a local town) and took some great pictures. It was interesting to be in the middle of all the commotion. I’d read a little bit about the cause online and hadn’t paid too much attention to it. A few of the “list of demands” I came across seemed pretty unreasonable–sure, I’d like all my student loans to magically be forgiven, but I feel like ignoring debt entirely probably doesn’t have pleasant results.

Then, on a recent visit to NYC a friend was protesting and gave me the tour of the park. It was interesting, inspiring, and a little silly. People slept in what my former roommate would have called “cuddle puddles” and other people held signs of anger, compassion, and humor and paraded around while cops yelled at passerby to KEEP WALKING!. There was a kitchen, a library, a med tent, various music groups, and an arts and crafts center. Meetings were held without microphones and was amplified by voices echoing the words. Everyone was very friendly. Most were my age.

That’s what got to me. These people are my age. Most of them are educated, newly graduated college students who are being hit hard by this economy. Some are older, who lost their jobs, and no amount of hard work is going to magically create more jobs for them to have. The rich get richer and we sit here, stagnant, unable to do anything because it’s all out of our hands. Our economy repairs itself and then breaks itself and for every one step forward there’s one step back.

And Bank of America is going to charge me $5 to use my debit card… WHAT?

This IS my cause. I’m not sure what part of it speaks to me most, but the fact that this is my demographic and they are being seen and heard and causing something to HAPPEN. People are listening, even if they don’t want to or don’t agree. I’m lucky to have a job, a good job, and one that I like. But my college loans keep me tied to Western Massachusetts where I cannot achieve my dreams to their full potential. I’m not using my degree that I paid so much for. I want the opportunity to be everything I want to be, I do not want to be stuck in my parents’ house forever because I can’t afford rent with my loans. My parents cannot bail me out when I run out of money, I’m on my own.

I still need to do more research on this, but I could definitely compose a sign if given enough time. I will probably donate some warm clothes to the local movement if it continues into the colder weather at the very least. I’m still not entirely sure what I think, but I know that this all is important. And I shouldn’t just ignore it.

I hope the Occupy movement accomplishes something. It would be nice.

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