»Ashlie Talley – atalley2@my.apsu.edu

“I’ve lived below the poverty line. My wife and I decided in 1996 that we were sick of poverty. We went back to school. We got jobs. No one handed that to us.

“We earned it. We did it. I didn’t go through all that struggle while raising three children so that I could support lazy-ass people who want nothing but government handouts. You want to ‘occupy something?’ Occupy a job and start contributing. I AM the 53 percent,” said Frank Decker.

These messages, along with others, are popping up on blogging websites such as Tumblr, Twitter and 9gag in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Their stories of hardship make a statement that leaves no room for interpretation.

They are not the 99 percent and they have no intentions of becoming a part of it.

They are also insulted that ‘occupiers’ would c all themselves the 99 percent in representation of everyone who falls below the title of extreme wealth — or the one percent of our nation’s citizens who hold most of the country’s wealth.

They call themselves the 53 percent. They chose this title based on the fact only 53 percent of Americans pay their federal taxes.

They don’t believe in government handouts or that their tax money should go to welfare, and they don’t believe the members of Occupy Wall Street are justified in their protest.

They do believe supporters of Occupy Wall Street lack personal responsibility for their own financial mistakes. In many ways, they’re right.

However, if they knew the true motives behind the movement, they would be less apt to generate such hate toward it.

For anyone who does research about Occupy Wall Street, it has a real message, but it’s overshadowed by its abundance of bandwagon followers. These followers are ignorant to its original message, which in turn gives people like Frank Decker the wrong impression of the movement.

Many people already know Occupy Wall Street has no legitimate direction yet. They’re a disorganized group, with many individual goals, making it hard to present their objective.

However, despite their lack of leadership and structure, most protesters have good reasons to be upset.

The 53 percent base their disdain for the Occupy proteters on the assumption the protesters feel the government is failing to support them financially and it is not working hard enough.

While this may be the agenda on some people’s minds, this is not true for more than half of the protesters.

According to fastcompany.com, a study by business analyst Harrison Schultz and professor Hector R. Cordero-Guzman of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs found half of the 1,619 protesters polled have full-time jobs and 20 percent work part-time.

A lot of these people lead responsible lives and acknowledge our government and corporative systems as being faulty.

According to the Occupy official Facebook page, the biggest medium for Occupy’s voice, most of the Occupiers’ goals include seeing less corporation influence in government as well as more moral and legal responsibility from corporations for their actions.

They are also concerned with the growing gap between the more privileged classes and the middle to lower classes.

These people have had their homes taken away from them by illegal practices and find shame in corporate ability to accept bailout money and then use it for material purposes.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, no matter how disorganized it may be, is not about how much money people can squeeze out of their government or how great the jobs the government can produce for us should be.

Perhaps for all those bandwagon riders out there this is the case. For those who are serious about it, this is about seeing a necessary change. Our government has agreed that the change is needed, and yet it is refusing to put forth the effort to produce.
Perhaps if the 53 percent did their homework, they would find themselves a part of a much larger percentage. TAS