Monday, November 21, 2011

"I am the 53 percent"

A former Marine writes nine sentences, holds them up to a camera and becomes the face of a movement. For better or worse, this is how our political conversation moves forward, sometimes.

The unidentified Marine was participating in the We are the 53% movement, a collection of similar photos started by CNN personality and conservative blogger Erick Erickson to counter the "We are the 99 percent" cry of the Occupy movement.

The 53 refers to the percentage of Americans who pay federal income taxes - an assumption that the Occupy movement is home to people in the other 47 percent. If that swipe isn't clear, the line that appears in many of the photos, including the Marine's, is more direct: "Suck it up, you whiners."

The rest of the Marine's note:

I am a former Marine.
I work two jobs.
I don’t have health insurance.
I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
But I don’t blame Wall Street.
Suck it up you whiners.
I am the 53%.
God bless the USA!

We are the 53% co-founder and fellow conservative Josh Trevino acknowledged that the site is a "reaction against the hippies" of Occupy. But, he told the Washington Post, there's a larger message going on:
“Even if you’ve had a difficult time, that this is America, and there is still value in hard work, and individual self-reliance...times are hard, we are in the worst economic crisis since Great Depression, but nonetheless, the same American values are really the way out of it.”
The counterpoint includes a letter to the Marine by Max Udargo, a member of the liberal web site Daily Kos. Udargo argues that he and the Marine want the same thing - for hard work to be valued and rewarded. "I don’t want you to 'get by' working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week. If you’re willing to put in that kind of effort, I want you to get rich." That's become nearly impossible now, Udargo says:

"Even though you and I had nothing to do with the bad decisions, blind greed and incompetence of those guys on Wall Street, we were sure as hell along for the ride, weren’t we? And we’ve all paid a price.

All the "99%" wants is for you to remember the role that Wall Street played in creating this mess, and for you to join us in demanding that Wall Street share the pain."

Take a look at the 53 percenters, even if you don't agree. There's an intriguing similarity to the Occupiers - a frustration with our circumstances and, implicitly, our country's direction. That similarity ends, of course, with the choice of where to place blame - and perhaps, the debate over who has earned the right to.

Peter St. Onge

29 comments:

Skippy said...

Sure Petey - "There's an intriguing similarity to the Occupiers - a frustration with our circumstances and, implicitly, our country's direction".

Try and ask this real American he shares "similarities" with the same useful OWS idiots including the anti war kooks Code Pink that are comitting rapes, comitting murders, doing drugs, causing millions in property damage, threatening police with over 3000 arrests and climbing.

Once again, the media doing it's best to paint the OWS clowns as mainstream when they are anything but that.

Does anyone know where are AWOL "President" is? Just asking.

Archiguy said...

Hear this Skippy - The President is doing all he can do, just as he has been for the last 3 years, to fix the mess the Wall Street tycoons and their conservative servants in Congress created. The Republicans won't let him, however, as they clearly think their electoral chances improve the worse the economy gets. Do you seriously not understand this? Good grief...

This poor guy is what's known as a "useful idiot", a product of the relentless right-wing propaganda machine whose primary purpose is to divert attention - at least among those NOT paying attention - from the real causes of this recession. You, and he, need to grow up and at least try to learn something. Otherwise, you might want to put the keyboard down and just back away. For your own safety.

DugN34 said...

Your post shows ignorance and unfortunately the real American as you label him shows that he's bought into the brainwashing that conservatives are painting that picture just to detract from the real meaning of the movement. As a former Marine, I can and do real both sides of the issue and think for myself but you kool aid drinkers need to regain what you are allowing to be taken from you....common sense.

DugN34 said...

@Archiguy AMEN TO THAT!!! One can only hope that the kool aid drinkers and useful idiots (love this) wake up before election day. Semper FI!

sanitizer said...

This guy is a tool. He is a modern day confederate war veteran sharecropper. dumb as a stump and is still being used by Erick Erickson as a tool. He even looks stupid.

Jonathan said...

God bless his service, but wouldn't his life be better if he lived in a country where hard work didn't equate to killing yourself to just get by without health insurance? Of course he would. I don't think 80 hours of work a week to get by without health insurance equals the American dream, and if it does, we've really fallen pretty far.

Ruck said...

First of all, thank you to the former Marine for volunteering his youth to put his life on the line for his country. Regardless of our political differences, that is to be commended.

But he put his life on the line for a country that now forces him to work 60-70 hours a week probably close to minimum wage (no consecutive days off), without health insurance (which is hard to believe since he should be covered by the VA), and which forced him to either work two jobs and pay out of pocket or take out hundreds of thousands in student loans so he could educate himself (again hard to believe since the GI Bill should be paying his education).

Soldier, through your military pension, VA benefits, and GI Bill benefits, I'm willing to bet that you're getting much more out of your government that you're paying in taxes.

Wiley Coyote said...

What in the world did our forefathers do?

Keep blaming Wall Street so you can sleep at night.

Oh an Archie? If you think this Marine is a "useful idiot" for the right wing, you're definitely the poster boy for the "useful idiots" on the left.

You and Dug are sheeple to the end...

So glad I'm an Independent!

James said...

See there's a Huge problem with this and the meme of 47% not paying taxes so prevalent in the freeper tepub cult. First off they do pay taxes, most just are working hard and not getting paid for that labor nor have any benefits, one reason he's working two jobs and not one, so no federal income taxes but the rest they like him are Not exempt from! Second, as prices like that for fuel rose and stays high so do costs for food and essentials thus that brings a rise in the purchasing taxes. Third lease we not forget the ever changing fee's of the banks, think not charging their big savers but trying to charge their little savers to use debit, but they also give breaks to those big savers as well! could go on and on, but the little cults won't get the picture anyway as they don't get they are a part of the non wall street scams being taken!!

James said...

Now as to this younger brother Marine Veteran: USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71

1st & 2nd Ladies, For All 'They've' Done For Soldiers,Families Of and Vets

Get Booed By NASCAR Crowd

As same crowd fly their false flags and Extremely False Support banners!

No Revenues = No Sacrifice = No Support, now for a Decade!


NASCAR Fans Boo Michelle Obama During Event Honoring Troops

Add to what the tepubs are still attempting to do in destroying this country this, only one of the recet:

The Budget Ax: Why Homeless Veterans but Not NASCAR?

Get the picture Brother!!

No_clue777 said...

For those that think this guy has all of the benefits in the world, let me share some facts.

Just because this Marine served, does NOT mean he gets healthcare provided by the VA. They only cover "service connected" health issues. Siince this Marine is NOT retired, he also does NOT get a pension. And IF he took advantage of the GI Bill while on active duty, and by that I mean PAID into the system that will allow him to draw benefits for college, I will tell you that the GI Bill does NOT pay for all college tuition costs. Anyone that has ever used the GI Bill knows that.

And to James....the 47% are those that pay no INCOME tax...but I bet you already knew that too.

James said...

one more point to our brother, and those who don't get it:

because of those two jobs that shows he's not only not making enough to pay for his education, i.e. on that the country isn't Sacrificing now for a decade added to the previous decades, even with the new G.I. bill, you do know that exists, but because of that he's either paying extremely little but probably zero in income taxes, thus he's in the 47% not the 53% he claims!!!

nccanuck said...

Hey Archiguy. How about the governments part, actually the whole problem can be laid directly at the feet of our representatives who willingly, happily SOLD our representation to those on Wall Street. Anyone can try and buy something, but can only complete that transaction when the seller signs on the dotted line. That is what happened. You can blame WS all you want, its the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Franks, Dodd who sold themselves happily to WS. You are just another truly useless idiot from the left.

msbenwa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
msbenwa said...

James,

You clearly don't know what you're talking about. No one in the United States pays more in federal income taxes than the single man with no children, no one. Also the benefits the military provides to persons who get out before they qualify for the pension(20 years consecutive required if you didn't know) aren't that great. You don't really get any of that money you paid in income taxes back unless you have kids. Why don't you learn some facts before you post this garbage about the military.

JWMJR said...

How hilarious/sad to se that even as the nations dispare deepens these idiotsthe can see beyond the left/right argument and see that the leadership of BOTH sides are owned lock stock and barrel by the financial elites of London and New York.

Want proof? Just look at MF Global. It just came out that amount of "missing" co mingled funds is twice as large as the original estimate of $600 Billion. So $1.2 Trillion has been stolen and John Corzine is still out walking around. Why? Because he IS the epitome of the elite that bothe the Tea Party and the OWS decry.

The game is rigged and only the 1/10 of 1% can win and all the rest of us will lose and keep loosing unless and until we get past the left/right garbage that these very same CRIMINALS have us trapped in.

blackspeak said...

I'm sure if you looked hard enought you could find a marine out there who supports the Occupy movement. Not all of them are running with the herd like this guy.

justwantalevelplayingfield said...

Peter, thanks for giving "equal time" to both sides in your article. You're among the best at the Observer for consistently doing this.

Former Marine: first of all, thank you, sincerely, for your service to our country, especially because it's likely you spent at least some of that time in these recent years in some very dangerous places. Now having said that, can we please stop acting as if being a veteran entitles one's opinions to some kind of above-average validity? I'm former Navy (about 12 years); big deal. As another poster has pointed out, being a veteran in fact offers some of the safety net assistance (VA hospital, GI Bill, etc.) that "Former Marine" implies he cannot enjoy in life; I know they're there because I could have likewise chosen to take advantage of them.

But now I'm just another civilian, working hard to stay afloat as I raise my family, who recognizes that there have been some fundamentally wrong directions our country has been taking, more and more over the past few decades, that hugely game the system for those "1%-ers". I've neither time nor inclination to camp out and subject myself to ridicule by the likes of the "53%-ers", but I admire and applaud these Occupiers for having the gumption to draw attention to this. I read many other such messages from these "53%-ers" at that website link, and they almost universally point out what a strong work ethic they have (again, big deal; most of us do), but they, like Former Marine here, just Don't Get It. I'm sorry if seeing some OWS protesters with long unkempt hair beating a drum offends your sensibilities, but they're NOT complaining because they "want something for nothing"; they're complaining because that "1%" does not pay their fair, PROPORTIONATE, share of the taxes that are required for us to have a healthy and safe society.

And Skippy (first poster): you may want to look into some medication to calm you down.

JWMJR said...

Meeting collusion with cooperation

One could hope that at some point the more intelligent aspects of the “Tea Party” movement and “Occupy Wall Street” people might get their heads together and recognize their common interests and common enemies. If they do, the results could be a rapid evolution of the American political process.

But unless or until each side frees itself from the constraints of “left vs. right” doctrines it won’t happen, or at least not up to the potentials of such a merger.

Both groups recognize, at least to some extent, that the root of the problem is in the open collusion between government elites and financial elites. They even may say it out loud but none has the courage to openly label it for what it is; fascism.

The “OWS” group is to some extent guilty of wanting to throw the baby out with the bath water. Their most strident voices seem to be little more than planted, would be communist college professors, or union activists, openly calling for the destruction of capitalism itself, preaching to a choir of poorly educated followers who couldn’t properly define communism, fascism or capitalism. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the slogan; “the banks got bailed out, we go sold out.” Rather than thinking outside the constraints of conventional politics they are being led down the path to the left of more government and more dependency while ignoring the violent and deadly excesses of central planning collectivism. Even more dangerously it has allowed anti-Semitism to creep in from the fringes. Again ignoring not so historically distant dangers on that particular poison.

Some of the more active voices among the “TEA” people on the other had seem to completely reject out of hand any concept of a “social compact” between citizen and government, or at the very least feel it has become so bloated and abused that it no longer functions in any positive manner and has become disassociative rather than cohesive to society in general. In this last respect they too are correct. This has lead some of them down the path to the right, where personal initiative and self-reliance thus becomes the be all and end all justification of their argument while ignoring the oft as deadly consequences of greed and unfettered laize-fair capitalism. This is how we get an almost knee-jerk reaction to the actions of the OWS by the TEA defending what they know to be the excesses of the very few on Wall Street with the mistaken attitude of “well at least they are capitalists.”

JWMJR said...

Meanwhile the OWS compounds the mistake of categorizing the criminal behavior on Wall Street as definitive capitalism by attempting to tar the entire system and its participants with that same brush.

Both sides need to recognize that it’s not a matter of the 99% vs. 1%. It’s more like 99.9% vs. 0.1%. If both sides could come to an understanding that the excesses of big government, as viewed from the Tea Party “right,” and the excesses of Wall Street, as viewed for the “Occupy Wall Street” left are but two side of the same coin, and that the collusion between them is working to keep them divided and more occupied fighting each other rather than addressing the issue of that fascist collusion that is at the heart of the problem. If such an understanding amongst the rank and file of both political sets could be reached then the more distasteful extremist elements, communist and racists, on both ends could be marginalized if not pushed out of the picture. And then something might be accomplished furthering work on those elements where there is agreement rather than expending and wasting energy fighting over those thing where there is not.

Such a combination would not only marginalize the extremists but put the left and right wings of our one party state on notice that their game has been exposed for the fraud that it is and a new paradigm is in play that will make them obsolete almost overnight. The thesis of one side must meet the antithesis of the other and give birth to a new synthesis of political and economic direction. Without it only chaos and violent conflict lays ahead.

larrydpowell said...

this not about marines, we just had one struck in the head a few weeks ago standing up for our 100% rights... let us drop that fight! the oligarchy loves us to take our eyes off the ball...it makes their job easier...

we all pay for this greed that is going on under the guise of hard work.. greed is good for the ones that who are the 1%.... but they the 1% have us right where they wants us fighting between ourselves... about poor people paying taxes... they pay!!! people like to play talking points games. one can google and see the answer...but it sounds so true.. fox talking points....

what is troubling??? lots of people here are blaming the poor for something they had no control over as well as the middle class... where was their voice in the board rooms of these banks, it is the 1% that has brought us to this point....and our government helped them along!

take the time watch a fact based film "the inside job" and you will see very clearly the 99% didn't make this happen. plus you get to see how well the 1% came out during these hard times we find ourselves in...

opinions are like _______... everyone has one... If you consume fact based information the truth will seep out...standing with or up for oligarchy is not in the best interest of the 99% or for that matter the country....

so you can check some facts below or you can ignore them and keep falling for talking points....you have a choice!

Billionaires use tax loopholes to pay 1% tax rate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Fh-fR9U_Y&feature=player_embedded

RudyG said...

So this Marine gets a check from the tax payer, then brags that he pays taxes on that money he is getting from the tax payer.

larrydpowell said...

this is not about marines, we just had one struck in the head a few weeks ago standing up for our 100% rights... let us drop that fight! the oligarchy loves us to take our eye off the ball...it makes their job easier...

we all pay for this greed that is going on under the guise of hard work.. greed is good for the ones that who are the 1%.... but they the 1% have us right where they wants us fighting between ourselves... about poor people paying taxes... they pay!!! people like to play talking points games. one can google and see the answer...but it sounds so true.. fox talking points....

what is troubling??? lots of people here are blaming the poor for something they had no control over as well as the middle class... where was their voice in the board rooms of these banks, it is the 1% that has brought us to this point....and our government helped them along!

take the time watch a fact based film "the inside job" and you will see very clearly that the 99% didn't make this happen. plus you get to see how well the 1% came out during these hard times we find ourselves in...

opinions are like _______... everyone has one... If you consume fact based information the truth will seep out...standing with or up for oligarchy is not in the best interest of the 99% or for that matter the country....

so you can check some facts below or you can ignore them and keep falling for talking points....you have a choice!

Billionaires use tax loopholes to pay 1% tax rate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Fh-fR9U_Y&feature=player_embedded

No_clue777 said...

Read the article Rudy....he's a FORMER Marine. That means he is NOT currently drawing a check from your beloved government.

RudyG said...

No_clue777, so he lived off the government for YEARS and got a nice GI BILL, Health Care, Housing, etc., now he wants to boast that he pays taxes......ROTFLMAO. Talk about a hypocrite!!

No_clue777 said...

Yea Rudy....He "lived" off the goverenment. And he PAID into the GI Bill system in order to get those benefits. And I'm sure that tent in Iraq or Afghanistan was top of the line "housing".....you know what....really can't debate a person like you.

kantstanzya said...

It is sad reading this story and the comments. Even in times of trouble in the past there wasn't a 1% vs. the 99% or the 53% vs. the 47%. There was just the 100% all working together to get through a crisis or solve a problem.

Thanks to decades of Democrat Party identity politics where they actually try to divide and pit Americans against one another by race, sex, income, etc. for political expediency we are reduced to a U.S. Marine feeling his group of taxpayers is at odds with an almost equal group of people who don't pay taxes. He correctly knows many of these people are not willing to make the sacrifices he is to get ahead. He knows many will simply vote for the Democratic Party just because they promise take things from one group and give it to them.

If Barack Obama is remembered as anything in history it will be as the "Great Divider".

Marland said...

As a US Navy Combat Veteran I'm both appalled and disappointed that ANY Active Duty/Reservist or Veteran would get involved with such divisive "movements".

From basic training throughout our career we learn that camaraderie, brotherhood, structure, discipline, attention to detail, goal and mission focusing, strong work ethic, along with physical and mental strength is what makes us elite not as individuals but as one team. We do this by ridding ourselves of the many divisive barriers such as race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic backgrounds and politics that separates many other Americans.

As veterans and current service members, we have the ability to make this lifestyle infectious to others, helping to create positive change by positive influence. Essentially from experience, we have the greatest ability among all Americans to help create the positive change America desperately needs. Unfortunately, I’m witnessing that for far too long many vets are allowing the negative infectiousness of others be the cause of their re-adoption of the divisive barriers which we know in fact DO NOT work.

These 99%ers, 53%ers and any other percenters other than thinking as 100% for the greater good of ALL Americans will only continue causing our GREAT nation to crumble under its current stresses.

I along with some other Veterans and Service Members recently started www.RallyOurTroops.com and www.AmericanVeteranForever.com to help rally America's heroes together as one and show the nation how we can get it done as one. Come join us and help bring America together with your leadership and experience.

Ruck said...

It is sad reading this story and the comments. Even in times of trouble in the past there wasn't a 1% vs. the 99% or the 53% vs. the 47%. There was just the 100% all working together to get through a crisis or solve a problem.

Thanks to decades of Republican Party identity politics where they actually try to divide and pit Americans against one another by race, sex, income, etc. for political expediency beginning with Richard Nixon's/Lee Atwater's "Southern Strategy" to convince upper middle class white voters that poor minorities and immigrants are determined to take away everything they've worked for through government subsidies and convince poor whites that the same people were taking away their jobs (when in reality, the rich whites were shipping the jobs overseas). We know many will simply vote for the Republican Party just because they promise to return things to the "good old days" when women, blacks and other minorities knew their place.

If the Republican Party is remembered as anything in history it will be as the "Great Fear Mongers".