Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hey Buddy, I'm Talking To You

Today, I'm talking to this guy:

If you can't read what this passionate anti-protester (Frank Decker) has written on his "with-it" webcam spiral-bound lecture sheet, here's what it says:

      I've lived below the poverty line. My wife and I decided in 1996 that we were sick of poverty.
     We went back to school. We earned degrees. We got jobs. No one handed that to us. We earned
     it. We did it. I didn't go through all that struggle while raising 3 children so that I could support
     lazy ass people who want nothing but government handouts. You want to "occupy" something?
     Occupy a job and start contributing. I AM the 53%.

I've taken the liberty of correcting Frank's rampant capitalizations as he hasn't been to college since the mid-nineties, but his point remains flagrant and obnoxiously clear: every Occupy protester is jobless and lazy and wants nothing but free government handouts. The 53% that he IS refers to the percentage of people who make enough money that the government can actually take taxes from it.

Wow Frank, what can I say? You're a real rags-to-riches Disney story come to life. If you can do it, anyone can. I mean, fuck those lazy-ass protesters, right?

Well, let's break down Frank's elegant autobiography a little further, starting with his sweet pic. What's this? He's a white male. Well, gosh, I'm sure that fact didn't close too many doors for him. I guess its a good thing he didn't have to deal with any of the socio-economic or systemically  racist factors that to this day confront minorities in our country. I wonder if the same arrogantly simplistic garbage scrawled on that notebook would have been so comfortingly linear if it was written by the black Frank Decker, or the "child of immigrants and living here illegally through no fault of his own" Frank Decker. I seriously doubt it. On to the text.

"My wife and I decided..." Whoa, whoa, stop right there. Wife, huh? Well, I guess its a good thing that Frank chose not to be gay. That might also have been somewhat of a speed bump on his meteoric rise to the top. I mean, thanks to being legally heterosexually married, he gets tax deductions that, say, a gay couple couldn't get in many states, or for that matter, a single person couldn't get anywhere. But I'm sure that America's Workhorse here doesn't feel like that's a government handout or anything. Surely he deserves to pay less in taxes than some of the other illustrious 53% by viture of the fact that he found some chick to straight-marry him. Good work, Frank! Onward.

" 1996..." 1996, huh? Lets take a look at the comparably adverse economic climate that Frank had to struggle though in order to be able to thumb his nose at every unemployed person in the country today. Oh, what's that you say, first result in a cursory internet search?

     During 1996, the U.S. economy saw moderately high growth with low inflation and
     historically low unemployment. Gross domestic product is forecast to have grown
     2.8 percent for 1996. The economy created approximately 2.5 million additional jobs
     in 1996, a 2.1 percent increase from 1995 levels. Inflation again remained low, around
     3.0 percent...

 Huh. How about that. "Historically low unemployment" you say? "2.5 million additional jobs" you say? "Inflation again remained low"? Well that doesn't sound so bad at all. Ooohh.... so the Clinton years were actually the opposite of today's economy. Well I guess its a good thing that Frank was seeking employment in one of the most stable economies of the past quarter century, with a growing job market and record low unemployment. I bet it would have really sucked if he'd graduated today, with record student loan debt and historically high unemployment. Although, I'm sure he would have been just fine. Frank isn't anything like today's lazy-ass college graduates, whose $40,000 BAs no longer qualify them for the same jobs they would have 10 years ago. He earned his job, unlike those sycophants who carelessly idle their time away in un/underpaid internships or perpetually teaching as adjuncts while leeching off of hard working taxpayers like him.

Yup, no one handed it to Frank. He, a born member of the statistically most financially successful demographic in the country, pulled himself up by his bootstraps and fought his way through reasonable tuition rates and a booming economy into a stable job from which he could pass judgement on any unemployed hippie filth who has a problem with anything. 

Alright, enough sarcasm. This guy makes me sick. His narrow-minded, unempathetic arrogance makes me fucking sick. He says no one handed him his job. Well I'm sorry, that's just plain false. His boss handed him his job, just like everyone elses'. Additionally, just like everyone elses', his boss can fire his ass when whatever institution he works for downsizes due to economic factors. That is, unless Frank has tenure, which he very well might considering that it looks like he took his chic webcam photo in an 8th grade classroom. I'm sure if that was the case, he'd feel that no one handed him that either.

Of course it would be this guy. He's the apple in the eye of the corporate elite; the complacent, counter-protesting arm of the middle class. These are the kind of people that will always use their mediocre good fortune and moderate accomplishments to hold themselves above those who have had to overcome significantly larger challenges in order to get anything. These are the kind of people who will inexplicably find a way to change the narrative of any movement into this inane notion that hippies still exist and are finding new and inconvenient ways to burden those noble, tax-paying WASPs rather than finally swapping their tye-dye bandannas for business suits.

I've seen a lot of news photographs. I went to one of the protests. I saw a lot of different things, and a lot of mixed messages. I've yet to see a single sign, speech or commentator that has said "We Deserve Free Money From The Government". So what the fuck are you talking about, Frank? People are out there correctly protesting corporate criminality, greed, and influence within our government. (You want to bitch about government handouts with your taxes, how about the bank bailouts?) And yet, no matter how many people repeat their outrage at this variety of injustices, your answer will always be the same: Get a Job, Hippie. How comfortingly eternal.

Of course there are people out there gaming the system. Everyone knows that, but people like Frank believe that anyone with a dissenting position must be in on it. The Franks of the world aren't millionaires or billionaires, and they never will be, but they simply won't hear of anyone protesting them because they honestly believe that that bailed-out multi-millionaire CEO was just a really hard worker who earned it, just like he did, and no one should be able to take that away from anyone. See, what the Franks don't realize is that they're only one layoff away from being one of those "lazy ass" people who don't "occupy" a job any longer. They're only ever one car crash or house fire away from being a single parent with a significantly reduced income on which to raise a family, or worse yet, from having their orphaned kids have to grow up with an aunt or other extended family relative because of some terrible tragedy. One thing is all it takes, and those governmental safety nets that they call "handouts" won't seem like such a burden.

There, but for the grace of God, Frank.

So take that piece of paper and shove it up your ass.