While Romney very accurately expresses the core values of what the Republican Party has become, there is a subgroup within the 47% that openly agrees with these principles. This group, refers to themselves as “the 53%” and post 99% meme-esque photos (in which they take a picture of themselves holding up a paper detailing their struggles related to this debate). Unlike 99%ers, who held up pictures detailing how Obamacare initiatives saved their lives and so on, the 53% hold up signs detailing their poverty-stricken struggles, debt-ridden lives, and how proud they are to take on these burdens because living in squalor is always better than the alternative which they cite as depending on the government.
What started off as a response to 2011’s Occupy Wall Street protest has never been more pertinent than it is today. And after Romney’s now infamous 47% dinner party revelation, it’s hard to believe that parts of the 47% will still vote for him, and it’s likely many of those individuals consider themselves to be 53%ers.
Not surprisingly, the 53% posters represent Republican spin at its best, after all, the party has slowly been brainwashing people for years to blame the poor for (insert random economic issue here) and unfortunately, many do. This is incorrect, of course, because corporate welfare and tax breaks have almost always exceeded all of the social welfare combined. Who’s the lazy one now, Daryl Metcalf?
The Tumblr site, “Actually, You’re the 47%,” cites some of the best of these 53% posters. Most of the posters share similar attitudes and without realizing it, chatter on like misguided drones regurgitating the most sentient Republican talking points.
One poster writes, “I’ve never expected government to take care of me it’s my duty to take care of myself! Get off your ass, get a job, stop complaining, and take responsibility for yourself!”
She also boasts, “I’ll be paying off my education till the day I die and I’m ok with that because it’s MY DEBT! I don’t expect a bailout!”
Well, Miss Guided, neither do I. I expect a world in which government regulates the ever-ballooning corporate greed and those corporations unfortunately (for parents and students) include higher education institutions. We cannot continue to survive in a world with decks stacked against us from every angle. The belief that you must obtain a higher education yet become a modern-day indentured servant to pay for one should’ve never been viewed as acceptable. Not to mention, after graduation, it becomes nearly impossible to pay back these ever-growing loans. With few available jobs outside of the service industry, most grads get stuck working at Walmart or at a more professional position that pays Walmart-like wages. Living solely on a “salary” sufficient for a high school student on summer vacation is nearly impossible. The blame lies on corporate greed and the switch from an industrial nation to service nation, not the state of the economy. And it is corporate greed and the switch from industrial to service that caused the poor state of the economy as well.
Another poster demonstrates the so-called 53%’s tendency to cut of their nose to spite their face, “I was unemployed. I did whatever work I could find, including an overnight shift at McDonalds.” He continues, “I didn’t stop looking and now I have a job at an institution that pays at one of the lowest percentages of anyone else in my field. I scrape by every month to take care of my family and pay my bills. I don’t have time to go and sing Kumbaya down on Wall Street, I have to work on Main Street.”
It is great that he’s found work, but unfortunate that he has disdain for those on Wall Street fighting economic injustices that likely include topics like working at a place that pays its workers “at one of the lowest percentages of anyone else in the field.” This is reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s comment, “Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that,” when a woman told him that she worked three jobs. Something is seriously wrong here.
The next comment really hits home for me as it bashes creative types and the “unrealistic expectations” of those who pursue the arts. “It took me SEVEN YEARS to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. Because I worked FULL-TIME to pay for my education. I didn’t study ‘what was fun.’ I studied what prepared me FOR THE REAL WORLD. I didn’t study Poetry, or Women’s Studies, or Theater because I KNEW, AS AN 18 YR OLD, THOSE FIELDS ARE WORTHLESS IN THE REAL WORLD.”
Like I said earlier, misguided drones regurgitating Republican talking points, my friends. Republicans have never been a fan of government funding for the arts and/or this job sector. It is in fact one of the most difficult job sectors to make a decent wage. As a result, you will first see most of your now famous actors and artists at a restaurant near you, serving drinks and taking your orders.
Artists are viewed as lazy, but many work the equivalent of two full time jobs: one that pays the bills and one that will hopefully someday pay the bills (but pays little to nothing in the meantime). Government grants and art funding are an integral part of the business; it gives those on the receiving end time to concentrate on their art and allows them the flexibility to take time off from their “real jobs.” Many in government look down on art initiatives and artists, yet would likely have no clue what to do if suddenly the film and entertainment industries ceased to exist; as they studied practical fields and may lack the skills to entertain themselves.
When I wrote the article, “The Face of the 47%,” I realized something: the phenomenon I talk about (business owners paying their workers so little) has become something we’ve grown to expect as the norm, but it isn’t the norm — it is an abuse of power.
It’s funny that Zen and enlightenment truly strip away the crap and result in the realization of the most obvious, like this abuse of power which is actually quite glaring. Yet through stigma and conditioning, people like Romney have piled it on and many of us have forgotten what is apparent.
For years now they’ve used Divide and Conquer amongst the population to create a diversion and blur the lines of what seems right and what is wrong. Through the promotion of the idea that the utilization of social welfare programs is the modern-day equivalent of being a beggar, they have run away with the money, and not through the back door either. They’ve done it right before our eyes and still American citizens choose to follow and believe what these corporate welfare recipients say, not what they do.
This is not about government assistance, this is about regulation and allocation.
Sure the people I cited should be proud that they have succeeded on almost nothing, but they are missing the point: that it never should’ve gotten to that point. That there is a greater force at work, keeping them down, and this struggle will worsen should the 1% continue to monopolize and capitalize on America’s workers without any government intervention.