Since it published its first post in late September, the “We Are The 99 Percent” Tumblr blog — featuring hundreds of personal stories from Americans affected by the recession -- has become a potent symbol for the protesters occupying Wall Street and cities across the nation.
The “99 percent” is a nod to the statistic that one percent of Americans control a large part of the country’s wealth.
Now, in true American fashion, other groups have sprung up online by people who don’t think the number 99 percent represents them.
Conservative activists have created a Tumblr called “We are the 53 percent,” saying they represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes. They assume the Wall Street protesters are part of the 46 percent of the country who don’t.
The message of the blog, The Washington Post’s Suzy Khimm reports, is that protesters aren’t taking responsibility for their own economic troubles.
“Suck it up you whiners. I am the 53 percent subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain,” Erick Erickson, founder of RedState.org, and the Tumblr, writes in his first post.
Messages have popped up from homemakers who shop with coupons, those who don’t have health insurance, and even from pet dogs.
Elsewhere online, a photo has been shared that says, “I am the 9 percent,” to represent the population of the country that is left-handed.
The message in the photo starts off by complaining that bankers don’t care about left-handers because they chain the pen to the right hand side of tables. It then continues, in equally dramatic fashion:
The government knows my hand will get smeared with ink, but they still make me fill out forms from left to right. And don’t get me started with scissors or computer mice. I am the nine percent.
On WagingNonviolence.org, a peace-centered news and analysis site, writer Stephanie Van Hook suggested a more serious number that could be applied to the Occupy movement: “Can we be the 100 percent?” she asked. “There is little doubt that the movement would be more inspiring, more effective, and ultimately truly nonviolent, by including the one percent.”
Van Hook even suggests a new chant to replace the chants currently being heard on Wall Street, such as “Hey Ho, Goldman Sachs has got to go,” and “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!”:
“A nation united can never be defeated.”
Some of the “one percent” agree with Van Hook, including the New York Federal Reserve deputy chairwoman Kathryn Wylde, who said recently that if the protesters actually “talked to the people working inside the banks and on Wall Street ... they would find they have far more in common with them than what divides them.”