The above image has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.
The original message, on the left, reads:
“I am a college senior, about to graduate debt free.
I pay for all of my living expenses by working 30+ hours a week making barely above minimum wage.
I chose a moderately-priced, in-state public university and started saving $ for college at age 17. I got decent grades in high school and received 2 scholarships which cover 90% of my tuition. I currently have a 3.8 GPA.
I live comfortably in a cheap apartment, knowing I can’t have everything I want. I don’t eat out every day, or even once a month. I have no credit card, new car, iPad or smart phone–and I’m perfectly OK with that.
If I did have debt, I would not blame Wall St. or the government for my own bad decisions. I live below my means to continue saving for the future. I expect nothing to be handed to me, and will continue to work my @$$ off for everything I have.
That’s how it’s supposed to work.
I am NOT the 99%, and whether or not you are is your decision.”
This is the response message, featured on the right. It was written by Ariah Noetzel a student at New York University and posted publicly on Facebook. “If you agree, I would really appreciate if you would repost it or something,” wrote Noetzel. “I would love for it to circle back to whoever originally wrote this.”
“I’m sorry to tell you this because you seem to feel quite adamantly about your position on the issue, but it seems clear to me that you don’t understand the issue at all. When the Occupy Wall Street protesters say “we are the 99%” it means “we are the 99% percent of Americans who are not billionaires.” So unless you struck oil while you were in college, then you are most certainly are the 99%. Graduation debt free from college is a great accomplishment, but it by no means makes you a billionaire.
I also feel as though you are missing the entire point of this movement. Average, hard working americans, americans who whether you believe it or not work equally as hard as you do have been ripped off. Wall Street Executives committed fraud and caused the entire global recession the world is currently suffering from. Regular people’s tax money went to bail out these banks, the executives of which proceeded to award themselves millions of dollars worth in bonuses. You don’t think people have a right to be angry?
And you claim that it is your choice whether or not you are in the 99%, but you said yourself, you went to an in-state public university, and while you may have gotten a fantastic education, in a competitive world, that university on a resume is going to be a disadvantage to you, and unless you have serious connections, or win the lottery, it’s unlikely you will make it into that 1%. Whereas someone born into the 1% is almost guaranteed. They can pay for an amazing education and their parents can use connections or power (for money is power) to get them high paying positions in companies.
The movement, despite what you think it is, is not a bunch of lazy americans complaining because they want hand outs. It’s a group of hard working americans, fighting the system that is unfair, and does not work. These awesome people are angry that they were ripped off, and they are fighting against corporate greed and against the banks and executives that put the country in this situation.
I implore you not to pay so much attention to the media, for media is run by big corporations, who want to paint this protest as a group of crazy, lazy people, just looking for a cause. It’s their greed that we are fighting against. But please, do your research before you lash out at a movement of hard working people being brave enough to use their voices. If we don’t speak out now, the gap will widen further, and I can promise things will get worse not just for us, but for you as well.”
(All spelling and grammar errors are the authors’ alone)