The major news story recently is about the Occupy protests and what change is really coming from them. Many people are saying that nothing is going to change. Others say that the people that are protesting are lazy and looking for a free hand out. There is so much anger between the 99% and the 1%. But there is also anger within the ranks of the 99%. If the 99% were truly united, then there would be no doubt that major change would happen immediately. But there isn’t unity. My question is, why not? Why are the people that, based on the numbers, being hurt the most not uniting? My personal belief is that is entirely due to trust.
American’s have not trusted their neighbors for years. You can see it in every newscast. All you will see are the horrible things going on in this world and why you need to be afraid of them. For example, we have been trained to be terrified of terrorism. But I am pretty sure there has been zero civilian deaths in the United States due to Islamic Terrorism since September 11th. In fact, we should be more scared of our chairs because sitting too much is way more likely to kill you.
I have been confronted with the statistic that only 53% of Americans actually pay taxes, and that invalidates all of the Occupy protests. This article explains why that is ridiculous, but I like to paint a picture of it. The article says, “a family of four earning $26,400 a year will pay no taxes ”. Now it is hard to determine what groupings of adults and children make up that household, but let’s assume it is a nuclear familty with two parents and two children. They probably have at least $10,000 a year(and that is at a low $833 a month rent, which is almost impossible to find) to pay to have a place to live, so now we are down to about $16,000. Then if you take out $5,000 for a car in total yearly cost of owning a car. So that brings us down to $11,000. Then using this chart, you subtract $6,000 for groceries. Now you are at $5,000 left, and you have not taken out insurance you might have to pay, internet(and with two children in school, that is a necessity for them to be successful), or a ton of incidentals that might come up during that year. Do we really want these people paying taxes anyway?
I went through all of that to make another point though. We often lump people into statistics and forget that there are human beings behind them. We distance ourselves from the emotion linked to other humans suffering. If we want to continue as a functioning democracy, we need to realize these emotions and start to trust our neighbor. We need to believe that there is more good in the world than evil. If we don’t then we will see more evil and fall into a self-fulfilling prophesy. There is so much power when you fight with love and caring. Martin Luther King Jr. saw something he knew wasn’t right. He states in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, “If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” We need to not be hostile toward the 1%, but rather try to unite together to form 100%, a society that is moving in one direction together.
We will not agree with each other, and that is a great thing. If everyone thought the same then there would be no new ideas and no innovation. What needs to change is our view of the people we disagree with. If we believe our opponents are out to hurt us and defeat us, then that is what we will get. But if we view our opponents as people who challenge us in order to make us(and in turn society) better, then we will get a lot more done in our society. We will also feel better about ourselves and society. And how does this happen? Trust. We need to have trust in our fellow man(or woman, transgender, or anyone else that might be reading this).
Trust is definitely a leap of faith, but with great risk comes great reward. And at this point, what do we have to lose?