Josh Haas's Web Log

We are all the 1%

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I like the name “Occupy Wall Street” more than I like the “99%” slogan. I can get behind occupying Wall Street. It probably needs some occupying. Going after the 1%, though, I have a hard time with. I don’t have a million dollars, but I think I’m in the 1%. Same with my friends. We’re not in the 1% of wealth. But we’re in the 1% of something. I have some friends who can do graphic design better than 99% of everyone else in the country. I also have some friends who are in the top 1% of America in terms of their physics knowledge. I know some 1% dancers. Some 1% artists.

I bet if you think about it, you can come up with something that you’re better at than 99 of every hundred people you meet. That’s because people have incredibly diverse sets of talents. The people in Zuccotti Park are part of the 1% of people who care enough and are active enough to get out onto the streets for their beliefs. That’s a really important 1% too.

I passionately believe in the 1%. It makes me happy to see my friends do amazing things that I could never do in a thousand years. It’s exciting, it’s inspiring, it’s what makes us human. “Occupy Wall Street” is possible because of a huge collection of talented people. The tools of the modern revolutionary, in the Arab world and here in the U.S., were put together by technology visionaries like Steve Jobs and the founders of Twitter. A lot of them made a lot of money doing it. I hope they don’t feel isolated because they’re part of the 1%; I’d like them to be comfortable marching side-by-side with the protesters, because they believe in a lot of the same things.

People are rallying in support of “Occupy Wall Street” because we’ve failed collectively to make sure everyone has access to economic opportunities. Creating economic opportunity is a huge challenge, and no one has all the answers. People are angry because the government and the finance sector haven’t contributed much to solving the problem. The honest truth is, they probably never will. Real change comes bottom-up. It comes from people going out there and creating economic opportunity for themselves and for others. If we want change, we need to be the 1%; we need to be ourselves at our best, and share our talents with the world.

I want us to create a world where you can’t walk five feet without tripping over economic opportunity. I want opportunity to pour from every town and city in this country and every city and nation in the world. The only way that happens is if we embrace the 1%; embrace challenge, embrace creation, embrace being our best and making the world a better place. Be the 1% — we’re all counting on you.

Written by jphaas

October 17th, 2011 at 3:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized