By: John – Austin

My Grandfather was an amazing man. He worked in sales during the Great Depression to put himself through college. He saved up money and started a small printing business in Austin in the 1940’s. He had a quality product and a good handshake. The business thrived. He lived the American Dream and, when he died, was a wealthy man.

I am an artist. Although my Grandfather never truly approved of my chosen occupation, he knew that I would be taken care of later in life because of my inheritance. He knew I worked hard and loved what I did, that was what was important.

I remember him telling me, when I was a teen, that he was in the “1%” of wealth in the country. He believed that gave him a responsibility to help those who were less fortunate and he helped, and still helps through a foundation he started, many people to have better lives.

Today, I am in the 99%. I am self-employed and struggle to pay monthly bills. I have tax debt and my wife has student loans. Luckily, we are both healthy, working when we find work and in love. My Mother, heir to my Grandfather, helps us out when times are rough. She also helps other people with her wealth, as my Grandfather taught her to do. Still, times are scary. The middle class, where I grew up and where most of my clients have been, is disappearing. Work has slowed for me and I can see it every month in cut backs we have to make. I have thought about getting a regular “9-5” job but, with my education level, I would be making less than I am now, if I could find employment.

My heart and mind are with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I will stand with them tomorrow in Austin, TX. The city I where I was born, the city where my Grandfather made his fortune, my home. I will march because I am the 99%, even though I won’t always be. 

This movement has a meaning. There is no catch phrase, no slogan, no single law to repeal or enact, no person to elect and no prisoner to free. We are being oppressed by the people we were told would protect us.

Some day I will be part of the 1%. I will be a rich man, my Grandfather worked hard so I could be. I will march with my fellow countrymen tomorrow knowing that someday, when I am in a position that I could use to exploit and reap more money from the other 99%, I will stand up for them and help them. They are my brothers and sisters. Without them, I will never have wealth.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you John. If our government consisted of more people with your values and beliefs, this movement wouldn’t be necessary! I look forward to marching with you,
    Larissa

  2. I thought the point was to eliminate the 1% inequality structure, not try to become the 1% and “stand in solidarity” with the 99%. Saying that one day you will be the 1% means that you hope to benefit from the system of economic inequality that you are fighting against. I wish this movement had a clearer purpose.

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