The stand for bridging the wealth gap in the United States is gaining momentum. Over the weekend people from all over the world joined in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. With social media in its corner and a hash tag to the left, revolution has spread across the world. This is the latest installment in the movement for the 99%. Cities and local communities have been putting together protests demanding jobs, taxes on the rich, and holding Wall Street accountable for the bailout money that we the taxpayers are paying for.
Cilla from the Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council spearheaded a local gathering of folk backed by MoveOn.org to protest a bridge that was reported to be unsafe. The protest in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street had a diversified turn-out. According to Caltrans the bridge at the route 92 and Alameda De Las Pulgas intersection where the protest occurred was deemed safe prior to the protest. However, that did not stop the folk from joining in solidarity to voice concerns. With aging roads and bridges, the group aimed to voice their opinions that we could be creating jobs with the federal stimulus money and rebuild infrastructure. Although Cilla thanked Caltrans for repairing the bridge it does not change the fact that there are still 74 bridges on the Federal Highway Administration’s 2010 Nation Bridge Inventory that still needed work to be considered safe.
The signage used by the protesters gathered support with honks form cars that were passing under the bridge and people pulling off the exit. Signs used for the demonstration included: The American Dream Too Big to Fail, Tax the Rich, Rebuild the American Dream, and Jobs Not Cuts to name a few. Along with the pungent signs, a young woman bearing the infamous Guy Fawkes mask was loud-and-proud and hit the street hard. She was screaming at cars: “honk, you’re part of the 99.” Most of the response was positive with a beep from their horns and giving a thumbs-up. However, there were a couple of people who drove by that were less than thrilled about the protest. One gave “the bird” to the protesters, and the other was shaking his head as he drove by in his high-end Mercedes Benz.
Reasons given by those who attended the demonstration revolved around the same core principles. An attendee, John from San Jose who heard of the protest form a co-worker said: “I came out to identify with others that have like minded principles and ideals and because of the content of the protest.” This seems to be the tie that binds all people from all walks of life to jump on board with the movement. It is a seed that has been planted and we have seen that seed grow quickly over the past month.
One of the occupiers moving through the crowd noted that under the Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower, taxes on the rich were 91%. When one compensates for inflation, this dollar amount would be higher now, but conversely wages have not gone up with inflation. A tax time table from democracyprevails.com shows the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.
After holding up a sign of my own that read Faux News is on the 1%’s payroll, I was able to get a few minutes with the organizer to hear her speak about the basis of her participation in the movement. Cilla spoke of the wealth gap and mentioned, “9%-19% of Americans don’t have enough food for their children. That’s quite an alarming statistic, considering ours is the wealthiest country on the planet. Our distribution of wealth is the 2nd worst in the world except for Switzerland where the off-shore back accounts are housed. We are worse than those in Egypt.” Cilla also stated that: “when I was a child growing up and was given a plate of food, my parents told me, I could not leave anything untouched because there were starving children in China. Now, China has bridged the gap of its citizens that are able to put food on the table.”
This really puts into perspective what the every-day people are struggling with. It’s time to be heard. This could be the beginning of a large scale world-wide revolution. With coverage that is undeniable at this point. The revolution will be televised!