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Rise of the 51-Percenters

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Dear Mitt,

My wife and I paid $65,000 in combined taxes last year. Does that make us one-percenters? Ninety-nine percenters? Or are we part of that lazy, unmotivated, shiftless, worthless, lethargic, resource-sucking, good-for-nothing, parasitic 47 percent brigade of moocher-slacker-derelict-couch potatoes with our grubby hands out grasping the Obama lever for lack of a better sugar daddy? Frankly, this percent stuff is getting more confusing every day. So to make it easy, let's just say we're part of the 51 percent who on November 6 will ensure the closest you ever get to the White House is as a lobbyist for Bain Capital.

You contend that we consider ourselves victims. We do. We are victims of trillions spent on wars meant to appease Dick Cheney. We are victims of the Citizens United ruling. We are victims of the almighty gun lobby. We are victims of AIG, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs. We are victims of regressive payroll taxes. We are victims of hedge funds speculating on oil futures.

We are victims of health insurance companies with in-state monopolies. We are victims of a cynical class of industrialists disingenuous about climate change even as their hapless red state constituencies weather the worst drought since the Dust Bowl. We are victims of trade agreements driving down the price of American labor, putting it in direct competition with countries having work and environmental standards harking back a century.

We are victims of a banking system that serves only those with abundant collateral. We are victims of predatory lenders who encouraged desperate people to borrow their way into the middle class. We are victims of leveraged corporate takeovers and raided pension funds. We are the victims of financial interests so large they can write their own checks and have us cash them.

As 51-percenters, we are not particularly offended by your remarks. We had a hunch how little you thought of us way before the video was leaked. The folks you've really offended are the 49-percenters--you know, the ones you've identified as bribable. Well, takes one to know one.

We feel entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, you name it. Healthcare? Food? Housing? Apparently we're not even entitled to a vote. Not if the PACs backing voter suppression laws all over the country have anything to say about it. That's the thing about you guys. You don't hold just the 51 percent in contempt. You hold closer to 90 percent in contempt. The whole one-person-one-vote concept is the Bain of your existence. It is a nuisance, annoyance, anachronism, and enigma which today's nobility are forced to grin and bear just to take the reins of power that were supposed to be a birthright. The infamous Citigroup Memos of 2005-6 had it right--one-person-one-vote is an obstacle to the establishment of a permanent plutocracy and must be eradicated like the plague. You and the Koch brothers have done a fair job so far.

Sometimes we wonder just how deep your disdain for us runs. While we know you would strip us of our votes, would you, given the chance, strip the wretched masses of their very lives? Maybe not. Who would press your Mormon underwear? But why would you even want to be president of so many slothful, aimless people? We've got it--to complete your resume.

The message, in any case, is crystal clear. Unless you've got big money, you are dead weight. The primary goal of this campaign is to cut that dead weight loose once and for all so that we bounce sadly along the highway as one of your Cadillacs peels out to the country club, the gated community, and the think tank where the only thought is how to finish the job the supply-siders and neocons started in the "80s. As you know all too well, trickle-down economics works great, so long as you're the one doing the trickling. In the world of severe social Darwinism you pine to create, those who have made it are left to worry only about tax shelters on tiny islands, while those who have not must have the door slammed hard in their face like the vault at Fort Knox.

Living near the bottom of the cesspool of society as we do, we have had to become fairly good judges of character. You know, hustling for food stamps does that to you. And if there is one thing we can tell you about your character, it's this--had you been born in Hawaii to a struggling single mother, you would have just barely made it to mid-level management at a freight company and still be paying off the home equity loan you took out to pay for your kid's braces.

You will spend your remaining days on the planet rationalizing about why you got your butt whupped by a skinny black kid born without two nickels to rub together. You will tell yourself and those around you it had to do with Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, the nanny state, creeping communism, the liberal media, mass hypnosis, left-wing PAC money, Warren Buffett, and George Clooney instead of admitting to yourself the one simple truth to be gleaned from this tainted electoral process--your job is not to worry about us, and our job is not to worry about you .

Nor will you worry about the far-right opportunists you shilled for, just as they will cast you quickly and forever onto the scrapheap of would-be Commanders in Chief. You used them, and they used you. This is a four-year ritual, and you were the latest shill who couldn't quite perpetrate the tax cut hoax. Of course, there are many more shills-in-training--including the plump one from New Jersey who keeps telling us to starve the beast. Let them have their day. This was never really you, anyway, Mitt. Becoming CEO of Everything should not have been so messy, complicated, and compromising. You should never have been drawn into rendering an opinion on two guys kissing or legitimate rape. Darn it, you just wanted the neatest gold watch ever.

Though we're now certain what you really think of us, we really never got to know your true religious beliefs. But working backwards from your public political positions du jour, it probably goes a little something like this: God is all-knowing and all-powerful, so who are we to upset Divine Providence with federally guaranteed college loans?

You expressed frustration at our unwillingness to take responsibility for our own lives. Ironically, it is you who must finally take responsibility for your life. You packaged your entire career--one including several moderate-to-progressive policy achievements that transcended petty partisan politics--and willingly handed it over to a bunch of greedy, power-mad reactionaries whose one true goal is to return us to the 1890s.

In your infinite arrogance you have divided us arbitrarily into makers and takers. And that is perhaps the most troubling aspect of this entire campaign. Though in the absence of decency from the obstructionist dream team headed by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan we hurtle toward a fiscal cliff, we are now headed toward a much more dangerous precipice from which there is likely no return--a moral cliff. But you'll never make it. Cause we're not gonna take it.

 

http://sinatragottiandme.com/

Rich Herschlag's most recent book, The Lady is a Champ (Velocity, 2012), is the story of Carol Polis, the world's first and foremost woman professional boxing judge. His other recent books include Sinatra, Gotti and Me (Archebooks, 2011), a (more...)
 
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Here is a sane and hopefully thorough reaction to ... by Rich Herschlag on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 8:50:06 AM
Brilliant piece!!!  I'm going to share it.... by Penel on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 3:17:23 PM
Well written piece sticking to Mitt!... by Penel on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 3:19:14 PM
Great writing, Rich! - Scathing as usual!btw, Leon... by John B on Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 at 10:00:46 PM
Thanks. I love Leonard Pitts. At the root of it al... by Rich Herschlag on Monday, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:28:22 AM