Occupy Tumblr: We Are the 153 Percent
As a reaction to the “We Are the 99 Percent” protesters at Occupy Wall Street, a right-wing response has surfaced with the Tumblr, “We Are the 53%.” Conservative pundit Erick Erickson offered this retort based on the idea that 53% of Americans pay more in federal income taxes than they receive back in deductions or credits.
Erickson’s own post shows him holding up a sign that reads: I work 3 jobs./I have a house I can’t sell./My family insurance costs are outrageous./But I don’t blame Wall Street./Suck it up you whiners./I am the 53% subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain.
Another Tumblr-based response to Occupy Wall Street emerged in the blog, “We are the 1 percent. We stand with the 99 percent.”
One recent post reads: I inherited more than $1 million when I turned 25. I’ve given some of it away but I am still the 1%./My 2 year old son has a disability and many health issues. I can’t imagine how much more difficult our life would be if I weren’t wealthy./People like me should be taxed a lot more. People like my son should be guaranteed health care./I will fight for wealth for redistribution AND universal health care./I am the 1%. I stand with the 99%.
Notable about the 99%, the 1%, and the 53% is that each constituency is composed of a diverse array of people who boast different backstories, success stories, and horror stories, each dealing with it differently. But whether working three jobs, living off of inheritance, sleeping on the streets, or fashioning protest signs, many of our fellow Americans still have time to update Tumblr from the comfort of their iPhones, MacBooks, and similar tech devices.
That’s a bloated 153% of us.
Granted, the 53% is not mathematically countering the 99% who are “getting nothing” but rather the 47% who are accused of giving nothing. No matter what the message, we seem to enjoy using Tumblr to convey it. But somewhere in the transition from our keyboards to our actions, something gets lost. Technology has given us some finely categorized mediums through which to vent our aggressions and assert our desires for change, but it is only the beginning. The intent needs to carry through.
Occupy Wall Street has been continually criticized for lacking a coherent message. If the majority of America can’t identify a concrete and central trajectory that Occupy Wall Street pushes for, are the protesters truly on their way to getting what they want? Do they have the attention of the government? Are they effectively communicating an appeal for a practical change in policy? As the New York-based mob grows and others bud throughout the country, I’m not sure that strength in numbers is effective if there isn’t a core message connecting these diverse groups of 99%-ers other than the fact that most of them aren’t working.
Tumblr will only do so much. It’s the government’s job to respond to unrest and the protestors’ jobs to get their attention and bring about the change that they desire. Otherwise, this 21st century, digital-age revolt is only going to make unemployment and chaos look more appealing because of the hype and communal experience that we see forming through the media. And in our economy, that just won’t do. Protest and unemployment should not be portrayed as fads.
We are lucky enough to have the privilege of technology at our fingertips. Using the tools available to us, America needs to get on the same percentage scale, convey a message, and see that it is brought into action. Or we can just Tumbl.
[Image taken from http://the53.tumblr.com/]
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