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I marched with Occupy Oakland last Saturday, but I’ve had a change of heart. I’m joining the One Percent.
The One Percent have fun. They have jobs and money. Or just money, because when you have a lot of money, you don’t need to work. They live in houses, not tents.
The One Percent have a government that actually listens to them. Lockheed needs a war to sell goods and services? Coming right up! Former Homeland Security Head Michael Chertoff wants to sell some porno-scanners? Get in (a very short) line – or no line at all if you’ve bought that exemption from TSA screening! Taxes too high? The One Percent’s government will lower them for the rich. Too many 99 Percenters declaring bankruptcy? The One Percent’s government will just make it harder for them. Bought toxic, mortgage-backed derivatives? Don’t worry, your government will bail you out if you’re in the One Percent. Bought a toxic mortgage? It’s your “responsibility,” if you’re in the 99 Percent.
Another reason to join the One Percent is that the One Percent have their own media mouthpiece — more like a bullhorn. The One Percent funded those meager Tea Party protests, and the One-Percent-owned Media covered them religiously. And I mean religiously: the media proclaim stuff about the movement that defies reality, such as how The Tea Party was a really big, grass roots, populist movement, and that it wasn’t racist. The Tea Party hate Obama for his “socialist” policies, not his skin color.
I also like how the One Percent-owned media have covered the Occupy movement. They treat the Occupiers as oddities, like circus animals — Cirque du So What? Paid-off pundits talk about the First Amendment with the “No way, this archaic language can’t really stop OUR OMNIPOTENT GOVERNMENT from doing what it wants, can it?” To find out if the New York City Police honored Occupiers’ First Amendment rights, CNN asked … a former New York City Police Commissioner, who assured viewers that the New York City Police honored those rights (ridiculous and so-pre-9/11 as those rights may seem!).
The One Percent don’t have school loans or credit card debt. When they get into financial trouble, they get bailed out by the Big Government they claim to hate. They get saved and protected from The Market they claim to love. They changed the rules that kept their businesses from getting too big, and when they ended up failing, they got deemed “too big to fail.” And at the same time, the One Percent get to say they are looking out for “the little guy” on Main Street! Unlike they Occupiers, they get to say that without getting their mouths, eyes, and nostrils filled with pepper spray.
And no one ever dares call the One Percent “traitors,” “anti-American,” etc. No, they’re “patriots” who ask what their government can do for them, not what they can do for their government. No one ever says, “Bailing out Banks to save us from socialism is like f—ing to save virginity.” That would be rude, and no one is rude or even slightly impolite to the One Percent.
Except the Occupiers, who get battered by police for their rudeness. In fact, the One Percent get to have police beat down Occupy protesters and pepper-spray them for no reason, and without fear of getting into trouble. Police pepper-spray defenseless students in front of hundreds of out-in-the-open cameras. Lesson: If you can’t join the One Percent, you should at least work for them.
If an Occupier ever tried to defend himself and/or toted a gun, police would shoot him to death. But Tea Party guys get to bring their guns to protests and to make not-so-vague allusions to shooting President Obama. They never had to worry about copscrushing their skulls or pepper spraying them!
So I’m joining the One Percent. A friend said I’d regret joining and quoted Three Dog Night, who sang that one is the loneliest number. No, it’s not, not when you’ve bought off the government and the news media. In the United States, 2 + 2 = 5, and 1 > 99.
Brian J. Foley is a law professor and comedian and author of A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan.