99% of the income, 1% of the population

Do you remember the protests that were happening on wall street a while back? People were frustrated that in America, 99% of the income belongs to 1% of the population. There were protests to bring attention to this fact – to the sheer greed of the super-rich. I was thinking about this yesterday, but it wasn’t based on a rage I had for the well off, but a rage I had for myself.

I read an article on Liberia that started it. Here in America, the ebola crisis is over. A handful of cases and we’ve eliminated the problem with nothing more than viable hospitals and quarantine procedures. Poof. It’s gone. Out of sight, out of mind. Yet in Liberia, things aren’t going so well. Ebola is spreading and people are dying, but what do we care?

And then you start to read more statistics. You start to see how many people die of hunger each day. You start to read how many people die without clean water. And you start to see, the real killer isn’t even disease. It’s malnutrition. It’s a cut that gets infected. A snakebite that can’t be treated. It’s heatstroke.

It’s the bland, the normal, the unastounding.

And here I am, complaining about money.

It occured to me as I read more and watched more and listened more, that I am the 99% in America, and likely the 1% in the world. My life, my luxuries, these things I enjoy, no matter how poor I feel – I’m still in the 1%. I started to wonder how they look at the world, those millionaires who want to be billionaires. Those with lots of money but no power, no political influences. They too likely can’t hear me shouting becasue they’re too concerned with not being rich enough to buy an NFL team or to own more than one private jet. They can’t hear me shouting because they’re not looking down. They’re looking up. They’re wanting more. They’re wishing they had more.

I need to quit looking up. I need to quit caring so much about having more money or more stuff, because it’ll never be enough money or enough stuff. I need to start to look at the ways I can help people around me. I need to be uncomfortable with my position in the scope of the world and I need to enact change. And I don’t mean just sending money to Liberia. I mean seeing the broken and the hurting and the helpless and the defenseless and the needy right here too. I mean both.

If reading an article is making me feel guilty, then I’m not doing enough.


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