Time for the 99%-ers to Have Each Other’s Backs

Did you know dog walkers nod to each other when they pass?

It’s fantastic.  Got my first dog ever last year, and when Vincent and I took our honeymoon walk together a young guy with a goatee and a golden retriever acknowledged us from across the street with an ever so slight bow of his head.  No words, no smile, just a quick flick of his hairy chin towards his chest like a cop or your ex does when you say hi to them in public.

His golden did the same, except with barks so it wasn’t nearly as subtle.

Vincent became obsessed so he tugged me across the street.  Because I was new to the dog walking game, I prepared to muddle through some awkward introductions with the bearded guy followed by a few general comments regarding the weather and the NFL until one of us worked up the nerve to excuse himself after getting the other guy’s name one last time.

Much to my relief, though, it went nothing like that.

We let our dogs sniff out each other in silence and did our best to keep our leashes from intertwining.  That was it.  There was no superficial small talk or weak wisecracks.  No puking up of politics or recitation of resumes.  We did exchange our dogs’ names and basic stats, though, and now whenever we see each other in the neighborhood we nod and greet each other’s dog by name because we still don’t know each other’s.

And that’s just fine with us.

After a year of having a dog I’ve got the same nodding relationship with a handful of other dog walkers in my area.  We’ve built up a connection based on something we have in common, our four-legged icebreakers, and whenever one of them subtly greets me in public with a wave or a woof, it tells me that I am not alone.

It’s the same with bikers.

When I rode a motorcycle in Los Angeles, other riders would nod or wave their non-throttling hand as we passed each other on the street.  At gas stations and convenience stores, strangers would come up out of nowhere and talk to me about their bikes because I was standing next to mine.  At coffee shops, bars, in stores or in line, someone would see my helmet and before you know it, we were exchanging our bike’s names and basic stats.

Bikers have each other’s backs.

There’s an unwritten rule that if you ride a motorcycle and you see another biker in distress, whether their bike is knocked over, out of gas, or with a flat tire, you stop and help them until their problem is solved.  No questions asked, no payment required.  Boaters, RVers, truckers, skiers, and skaters live by the same mutual code:  you see any of your people struggling, you step in and help them out.

Isn’t it time for us 99%-ers to do the same?

By now, you’ve probably heard that the top 1% of the wealthiest people in America has accumulated a shockingly disproportionate share of capital, political influence, and the means of production. (Link to Article)  That means the rest of us, the 99%-ers, have something very much in common with each other – together we make up the other side of the economic coin.  We’re all in the ‘rest of us’ boat together, the ‘everyone else’ category of personal wealth, and it’s time we started acting like it.

We 99%-ers have to start having each other’s back.

Don’t worry about identifying each other, because most every person you encounter during the course of your day is a fellow 99 %-er, unless of course you’re already a multi-millionaire or an NBA ref.  And don’t be confused by the many differences of our outer shells.  Just because I’m white and you’re black or brown, or he’s straight and she’s gay or bi, doesn’t mean we’re not economically similar in the voting booth.

That’s another place where the 1%-ers have been kicking our butts.

The uber-rich aren’t supposed to be our enemy, but they sure do vote like it.  DemocracyNow! writes, ‘The Republican push for massive tax cuts comes as tax policy groups warn Trump’s plan would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest 1% of Americans.’  (Link to Article)

The 1%-ers and their political puppies will keep changing the rules in their favor until the rest of us 99%-ers recognize the sheer power of our numbers and start voting back at them.  We must ignore our superficial differences because they’d love for us to argue over them and begin to give each other the dog walker’s nod.  Flash a nine-nine to the other members of our economic gang and follow the motto:

When any of the group is struggling, and many are, we all step into the voting booth and help them out.

We are not alone, 99%-ers – how fantastic is that?

  • Mike Lukas


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