Sunday, October 16, 2011

I am the 99%

This is an "off the mat" post.  I feel the need to show my support for this movement.

A friend's video from the Occupy Pittsburgh demonstration:

I support the Occupy Philly and other worlwide Occupy movements, because I am the 99%.

I come from a working class background.  My mom has held positions as a cook, cleaning lady, and most recently works for a florist.  My dad works for a machine shop. He does dangerous electrical work.  In 2001 he lost his job of 30 years because his company moved  the manufacturing positions overseas. He was told to go to school and get tech skills.  They said this is where all the jobs would be. He listened. The jobs in that industry also all moved overseas. He's now back in the machine shop making less with fewer benefits.

I personally was saddled with debt for years (to the tune of $35,000 - not counting student loans), because I believed in the American dream and pursued a Master's degree.  I supported myself and paid my way through my bachelor's and graduate education.  Rent and the cost of living enslaved me to a cycle of credit spending.  Only this year was I able to free myself from that cycle.

My husband also believed in the dream and got his PhD.  He has about 8 years of experience in his field.  We lived in Kentucky for a year where he was earning $13 an hour in his profession, that's less than what a graduate assistant at a Philadelphia university makes.  We moved to take an opportunity for me and hoping to improve his prospects.  Since May, he has sent out over 100 job applications.  He can't even get a phone call for an interview.

We occasionally think about having a kid.  But then we'd have to choose between our sparse, but comfortable life,  or supporting a child and condemning ourselves and it to poverty.  Two people with 5 degrees between them shouldn't have to make that choice.  No one should have to.

I am the 99%.

I found this video particularly poignant:

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