Occupy Conundrum: How I got here in the first place

I am, by nature, non-confrontational, although I do love a good debate. I am also, by nature, a Libra, which means I weigh everything—ad nauseam—and at times, to the point of stagnation. I love supporting education, the arts, the environment, animals, humanity, etc. However, I am slow to adopt causes, mostly because I can see both sides of an issue and consider the pros and cons of both. The Occupy Movement, though, is another story. To be honest, I don’t know what is being decided upon in general meetings or in the committees are being formed. I’m not entirely clear how the movement truly started, except that Adbusters placed a bug in the ear of someone—or some ones—who rose from their complacency to hang out on Wall Street. What I do know is that I’ve been hoping for a revolution in this country for a long time. Something bloodless, peaceful. Something that compels the people of this country to take a hard look at what it has become. I’ve felt very alone for years, wondering how I could change what seemed unchangeable. I’ve watched this country go from one of innovation and wealth—a place that people immigrate to in search of the American Dream—to what it has become: a government controlled by corporations and a populace controlled by debt.

I was born in 1967 and grew up during the 70s and 80s believing in capitalism and the possibility of having it all. I’m no longer convinced. I hold a bachelor’s degree and ABT for a master’s degree, both in English. I began working at 15 and over the last 29 years, I have had paid work for 23 years. The six years of unemployment included staying at home with my daughter and finishing my undergraduate degree. When I divorced seven years ago, I took half of the combined debt plus all of my student loans. Being self-employed with a few clients and working on my master’s didn’t balance out my debt. Rather, it increased. And now, along with millions of other Americans, I have joined the ranks of the unemployed because my job ended. A job, I might add, where the salary left me below the median income for California. Salaries were frozen for the three and a half years I was there, and every year cuts continued, starting with benefits and ending with two weeks worth of furloughs. Needless to say, given the cost of living in California, I wasn’t making enough to meet my needs and pay all my debts. I’m not now, either. To be honest, I think I was financially better off in 1985 as a teenager making around $8/hour. It doesn’t make sense, and I don’t see how I can possibly ever get ahead. Of course, our system is set up for failure and the personal is reflected in the government. Or vice-versa.

Spiritually, I believe there is an infinite amount of wealth to be had in the world and that ultimately, no one should be homeless or hungry. Do I believe that the Occupy Movement feels the same way? I don’t know. What I do know is that our government, along with the corporations and banks, don’t. They want what they want and they don’t care about who or what is sacrificed to get it. And frankly, I’m tired of it. Beyond supporting the movement and considering myself one of the 99%, I don’t know what my next course of action is. However, I’m willing to step up and do what I can to make the world a better place for myself, my children and humanity. Occupy Movement, here I come!

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