We Are the One Per Cent
by John Kenney November 28, 2011
Average wealth of the top 1 percent was almost $14 million in 2009, according to a 2011 report from the Economic Policy Institute.
“Shit is fucked up and bullshit.”
—Sign seen at the Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan.
We, too, have mobilized.
We come from near and far, by any means necessary, some on private jets, others on extremely large private jets.
But you will not find us sleeping in a park and waiting in line at a Burger King to urinate. Have you heard of Mustique? Because that’s where we have mobilized. Don’t bother trying to Google Earth us, though, because we have proprietary military software that prevents you from doing so.
Our numbers may be smaller than those demonstrating in New York and other cities, but we are still a movement, coalesced around a cause, sleeping two and sometimes three people to a villa.
Perhaps you are wondering what our cause is. Perhaps you’re wondering why we, the richest people on the planet, have come together. Perhaps you’re curious whether what we’re undertaking couldn’t technically be called a vacation. These are all good questions.
We’re angry. We’re angry at something we’re calling “imagined frustration.” By this we mean that, except for Congress, the White House, banks, major lobbyists, and the editorial boards of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, no one is listening to us. And we’re tired of it.
You claim to know something about us. You think we are rich beyond comprehension, that we can do anything we please at any time, go anywhere we want at a moment’s notice, wander the earth in a state of constant bliss, enjoying abundant and fabulous sex. Perhaps you do know us.
There are those in the more liberal press who have questioned whether the wealthiest one per cent truly understand how difficult life is for so many Americans right now, and to that we would say— Oh, look, someone just brought in lobster and a Bollinger Grande Année.
Except for money and the almost unnatural flawlessness of my skin, we are no different, you and I. I don’t know who you are or what you look like or how much money you have in the bank. Nor does it matter. Because we’re just men. Unless you are a woman. Or a child. Or a pony. But ponies don’t read magazines, do they? Unless they’re precocious ponies, like Mister Ed. And he wasn’t real. But I think you get my point. And that is: we are the same, except for the coarseness of the skin on your elbows. Do you know that feeling, upon waking at 4 A.M., heart racing, your mind looking twenty, thirty years down the road, wondering how you are going to make ends meet? Worrying about what would happen if you lost your job, asking yourself how you’re going to pay for your kids’ college or retire? Well, I don’t. But I read a story about it once and remember thinking, I’m so glad that’s not me.
What do we want?
Here is our manifesto, still very much a work in progress, as it’s cocktail hour and several of our protesters are out at the pool:
—All wealth should be shared equally among the wealthy.
—Eradicate poverty. (Note: Maybe a clearer way to say this would be “Eradicate the poor.” Need to discuss.)
—End business as usual. (Note: Several members like the sound of this, but they don’t know what it means. A suggestion has been made to add the word “hours” after “business.”)
—Implement a rule whereby the public cannot look at us and must keep a distance of at least twenty feet at all times.
Yes, I have more things—more homes and cars and planes and art and underground passages and satellites and private militias and a person whose only job is to grow hair that is genetically identical to my own. But when you take off your pants and I take off my pants and we stand facing each other as naked as the day we were born, except for socks, all I would ask is that you feel my skin and tell me it’s not the softest skin you’ve ever felt on a man. And also realize that we are the same, except for the fact that I have four submarines.
Shit is fucked up and bullshit.
Except that we would substitute “money” for “shit,” “awesome” for “fucked up,” and “squash courts” for “bullshit,” and add the words “cannot be used for more than ninety minutes. Please respect club rules. Thank you.” ♦
ILLUSTRATION: Laurie Rosenwald
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