I’ve thought long and hard about this. Here are my thoughts as to why sustained protests en masse don’t happen here. First, a bunch of stats:

  • The US is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee its workers paid vacation time, and 25% of all workers take no time off at all.
  • The average vacation time of US workers (15 days) is still less than the federally mandated 19 days in those same other advanced economies.
  • 78% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.
  • Real wages are up 12% since 1971, while output (hours worked) is up 66% in that same time frame.
  • The cost of living has doubled since 1990.
  • 58% of Americans have less than 1,000 in savings. 19% have none at all.
  • 33% of college graduates are underemployed, while unemployment overall is at just 3.7%.
  • 62% of Americans die in debt.

In short: Everyday Americans’ ability to truly advocate on our own behalves has been systematically eroded. We’re chained to our jobs because cost of living is so high and we’re deeply in debt, or our healthcare is tied to our employment, plus we can’t take time off (none is given, or we can’t afford to). We’re working more hours than ever. And, should we decide, “fuck it, let’s take to the streets,” we’re more replaceable than ever. This is by design. It’s hard to sustain a long protest when anyone who could’ve in the past, or can in other countries, is here, now, in this country, living on the edge of ruin.

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Essayist and storyteller on life, liberty and the battle for happiness. Several million served. Words at Human Parts, Forge and PS I Love You. IG: heygorman

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