No, I’m not talking sheep here, hence not Biblical, at least in the parabolic context. Instead I’m talking about a trending catchphrase referring to percentage. More specifically, "1 and 99" is a neologism spawned in the last several weeks by the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests as they started and rippled to other US cities and other places around the world.
The fighting slogan of these protesters seemed to have been based on the obvious divide between the rich 1% and the poor 99%. The disparity has become the cause of dissatisfaction and disheartenment for some in their lot in life - for the time being. The gap is made wider by the present economic conditions in which the cost of basic needs and services have jumped while incomes - for the 99 - have remained stagnant, and in some cases, declined or lost.
The lack in unity of message and target, however, has been the drawback and handicap to any measured success of the protests and demonstrations. But this feckless and amorphous character of the protests is not the only setback. It also has to do with the very nature of the OWS which - at its core - goes against the grain of the values and ideals of the proverbial “American Dream”.
The demonstrations seemed to have been ignored by many even in the lower economic rungs of society. Ostensibly, some in the 1% passively agree and quietly support the dissatisfaction in general and uncertain terms. But the majority still believe that socio-economic mobility is a patented American ideology. American society is largely an open society, and that hard work, creativity, innovation, industry and individual fortitude are means to achieving success and improvement in a person's circumstances.
I am definitely in the 99% but I also believe in the socio-economic justice that life offers, at best in the United States. America is often referred to as the land of opportunity. It is no longer the Rockerfeller hand-me-down era or the aristocratic and dynastic cycles of the mother country. Just ask Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett or Shahid Khan, an American success story - born in Pakistan moved to America at 16, graduated from college, became a successful businessman and had just bought the Jaguars football team (NFL franchise) for $760 million.
The indisputable fact remains, however, that the divide does exist, not only in America but on the global level as well.
Anyway, for those in the 99% emotionally charged by the above issue, I think we need to lighten up, and go to work, aye? So as a believer in laughter and humor, here’s a funny - yet largely true - caricature of the global economic divide - and maybe digital too.
SCHOOL BUS in JAPAN