Monday, November 21, 2011

And Now, For Something Completely Different

I'm not a political person, and this is not a political blog. I like to keep the focus on writing, but I also like to educate and enlighten in this space, and I do occasionally shed some light on other aspects of my writer's journey that are not as obviously connected to me being a writer, but are still important to me.

I come from a nice middle class family. My mom worked as a producer for television while I was growing up, and my dad worked as an announcer for radio and television. (And while my mom has since given up working in the entertainment industry, you've probably heard my dad's voice recently if you listen to the radio or watch TV at all.) My dad's initial foray into creating his own business failed spectacularly, resulting in my family filing for bankruptcy and going through a divorce while I was finishing high school. When I graduated, I went straight into the work force because there was no money for me to go to college and my mom needed my help to make ends meet. I wasn't always the best at helping out on that end, and for many years, I carried with me an entitlement that I gained from having my every financial need met while I was in school. When I moved out, however, I had a job at a bookstore, and for a time I had a second job as a courier to make ends meet. Since then, I've worked hard to cover my own bills, to support myself, to get by as best I could on my meager earnings. It hasn't always worked. I've sometimes needed my parents to bail me out when things got especially bad, but I never stopped trying to make it happen on my own. I've worked at a law office, a doctor's office, and an information technology company. Considering I have no college degree and all of my adult education has been on-the-job training, I've done pretty well for myself.

Then the economy went to hell.

Then the government cut back on funding to companies like the one I worked for.

Then I got laid off from my job.

Now, 15 years after graduating from high school, I'm still struggling to make ends meet. It's harder now. People aren't as willing to hire as they were before, preferring to saddle current employees with the work of three people instead of bringing on additional help. I take temp work as often as I can and submit my resume for everything I'm even remotely qualified for, but I have no steady paycheck and I constantly worry about where money is going to come from so I can eat this week. Meanwhile, my bank continues to gouge me for money I don't have to pay hidden fees so their executives can continue to live the high life, forcing me to borrow money just so I can keep my head above water for five seconds.

I don't believe this is how the world should work, and I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

While I can't always get out to the Occupy encampment near me because I need to make money to pay bills, I nevertheless stand with them against the 1%. I believe real change needs to happen, in our government and our businesses, before things get out of hand. I believe our representatives need to listen to the people crying out for help, not the corporations buying their attention. I believe that the system is broken, and that our elected officials have a responsibility to fix it.

I know that this change won't happen overnight. I also know that it WILL happen, sooner or later. Until then, I stand with the rest of the Occupy Wall Street movement, because I am the 99%.

I share every piece of news about Occupy Wall Street that I can on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Twitter, but there's so much more that slips under my radar. Please, I implore you, read up on this movement and understand what it's really about, not what the traditional media wants you to think it's about.

Edit: And as a sort of OWS primer, here are a few links to get you started.

New York Times: Protestors Against Wall Street

Huffington Post: Capturing Occupy Wall Street movement Demands

Portsmouth Patch: Roemer Fully Behind Occupy Movement

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