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We are the 99 percent


I'm retired and spent my career working for a Fortune 500 company running three different manufacturing plants. My major responsibilities were to reduce cost and increase productivity. In our system of Capitalism these seem like reasonable goals. I was very good at my job. As a result of this I was rewarded with an increasing salary and very good bonuses. I believed that if you work hard and do a good job you would be rewarded with the “American Dream”. Somewhere along the line, the last eight years or so of my career, I lost faith with what I was doing. I woke up one morning to a different reality. The American Dream no longer existed for most of the 42,000 people that we employed. I spent most of my time trying to eliminate people or to break unions or to move plants where there were no unions. We also invested heavily in automated equipment to reduce people. We as a company continually told employees that they were valued and that all the things we were doing was to help them. Even I believed it. It was a lie. I was involved in hurting a lot of employees through job elimination, layoffs and reduced benefits. As all of this was going on, I was in a position to see that the increased profits from all this work was going into the pockets of upper management. These folks were being rewarded with huge bonuses, stock options salaries.
When I finally woke up I found myself feeling ashamed and guilty from what I was doing. Many people were getting hurt. The company had no empathy for the pain we were inflicting on employees who has worked long and hard to make the company successful. This had a great impact on me personally. This went against all I believed and my personal values. The last couple of years I worked were very difficult and I became very depressed. So depressed that I actually sought out help from Doctors. I ended up retiring early and my wife and I live on about a third of what we were used to. We get along with much less but I’m recovering from the depression and feel better getting up in the morning.
Over the last year or so I have been trying to educate myself on this corrupt system we find ourselves in. I look around and see and feel the pain of so many people. I have felt helpless as to what I could do. Buy accident I started to hear about people getting together at a grass root level and saying this is wrong. This is the country where everyone should be rewarded for the hard work they do. This is the country that should have great education. This is the country that everyone should have health care. All these things are being coming just dreams. I’m committed to getting involved in this change. We live in a Democracy. We all have the right to vote and the majority wins. The movement I see is one that I believe in and one where anyone who is willing to work is rewarded with the fruits of their labor. For those of us that are less fortunate we have a moral responsibility to help take care of them.
Over the last year as I listen to the GOP and their candidates I become very scared. What I hear is a lot of hate and intolerance. I thought that this was the party that had the corner on Christianity. They claim Jesus as they savior. Well, I’m a Christian to and I don’t think that Jesus would be very happy with most of them. I also think that Democratic leadership is not much better. When I voted for Obama I really thought that things would be different. I believed what he told us. None of though promises are being kept. We are still in two wars. We still do not have health care for all. We still are not taking care of the environment. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between him and Bush. We the people are not being listened to and it looks like the only way to make a change is that We the People make that change.

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