Occupiers deserve your respect

Keith Kaczmarek, Reporter

The resistance to the Occupy movement has been confusing to me.

I understood it when the news media had a month-long blackout; the clear anti-corporate and generally peaceful message was just not racy enough for the 24-hour news cycle. I understood when conservative talking heads castigated them as socialist hippies; conservatives have been defending big-money interests and the wealthy for decades and to act differently now would be an abrupt and bizarre position change.

I even understood when various politicians on both sides of the fence dismissed the movement as unfocused and without real demands; politicians only love things they can subvert to their cause (e.g. the Tea Party).

It’s the average person’s resistance that has been most troubling. When I pointed out to a fellow classmate that some classy fellow had dropped dozens of McDonald’s applications onto protesters in Chicago, the response I received was, “good, someone should have done it weeks ago.”

Seriously? Has there ever been anyone who could pay rent and feed themselves on the part-time just-above-minimum wage from McDonalds? Isn’t a McJob just the perfect example of wealth inequality where the corporation makes around six billion dollars in profits each quarter and their average employee can’t afford to eat in the restaurant they are working in? Heck, we don’t even pretend that getting two of these jobs means that a person could own a reliable car or afford medical care or do any of the things most people expect of the most basic standards of living.

There is even a small movement of people calling themselves “The 53%” instead of “The 99%.” The beef of this group is that they pay federal income taxes and the other 47 percent don’t, and they want this to change.

That sounds like a reasonable complaint right until you find out that this same 53 percent of the US owns 98 percent of all the wealth of the US and the other 47 percent still pays sales tax, state income tax, and all the indirect taxes that local, state, and the federal governments use to collect money from the American people.

The calls to ignore or increase the wealth inequality don’t end there. Leading Republican candidates for President have been tossing out a surprising number of plans that increase taxes on the poor. Herman Cain’s tax plan would shift the tax burden further onto the poor and middle class and reap crazy windfalls for the ultra-rich, the merely super-rich, and the regular rich.

Does no one realize that the Occupy movement is just Americans asking to not be blindly fed into the mouth of a machine that is trying to chew them up and then spit them out as serfs for an increasingly powerful aristocracy?

At worst, the Occupy movement protesters have been asking for living-wage jobs.

What patriot would deny a fellow American the chance to work for what he gets at a fair wage?

In this Great Recession, the masses of people protesting are not asking for a handout. They are simply asking to be treated with the same consideration as bankers and mega-corporations that have been given reductions in taxes, more political representation, and financial support like bailouts.

Your fellow Americans are simply asking for a bailout of the American Dream, so please show a little respect.