This I believe:If there is to be hope, it must lie in the proles.

Jonathan - West Hollywood, California
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“If there was hope, it must lie in the proles.” – George Orwell

Last month, Barack Obama raised over $150 million for his presidential campaign. This doubled his efforts for August, shattering his previous fundraising records. The campaign added 2,000 new donors, for a total of more then 3.1 million contributors…the average donation was $86.

It’s been well documented that the under-educated, under-motivated, the poor and disenfranchised, the very people who need representation in Washington, rarely, if ever vote. How is it that the American people have allowed their government to function for so long, unregulated and unchecked? How is it that the American people have allowed a congress to endure for years that continually rejected efforts to increase the minimum wage and find solutions that would provide affordable healthcare for all people? And how is it that the American people have stood by and watched the dissemination of wealth continue to drastically and unequally benefit the rich? According to the New York Times, income inequality is at its greatest level since the Great Depression. Since 1980 the richest 1% of Americans of have increased their share of the national income nearly threefold, from 8% to 22%. What’s happening is simple: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. And the American people are letting it happen.

How could this be? Where is the outrage? Where is the uprising? How is the richest country in the world, the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave become so unbalanced? How has our government become an Oligarchy, run by the wealthiest in society, when America is supposed to be “of the people, for the people, and by the people?”

It’s easy to blame Washington. It’s easy to blame the Republicans or the Democrats, or anyone else who doesn’t agree completely with your basic political view. But our elected officials are voted into office by the voters, and for half a century the public has remained apathetic as the ruling élite have bought and sold their way into power. It’s clear that a system where the rich continue to increase their ownership in America’s wealth is dependant on an uneducated, dumbed-down and lazy electorate.

Now we face a Presidential election at a crucial juncture in American history. The world-wide economic collapse is an intense and brutal reminder of who has really been in control. While it’s clear certain measures had to be taken to ensure the financial sector and save the American people from economic catastrophe, it’s also evidenced, now more then ever, how the burden, but not the benefits of the American economy fall upon the shoulders of the every-day citizen. Here, the profits are privatized; however, losses are shared by everyone. The rich are getting richer.

But if Obama’s fundraising numbers are any indication, America may finally be ready to wake up. In his nightmarish, dystopian novel 1984, Orwell recognized the overwhelming power of the common people, the proles, the working class. He acknowledged that as oppressive and as horrific as the Party and Big Brother had become, the citizens still had the ability to overpower them both, “if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength.”

Now Barack Obama has shattered fundraising records and nearly all early expectations for his Presidential campaign. He’s drawing crowds of 100,000 and more, and with an average donation of $86 the working people, the middle-class seem to be moving him closer, and closer to the Whitehouse. This sudden, inspiring call to action is something that should go beyond politics. Republicans and Democrats, Independents and Undecideds should look at the facts. They should realize that John McCain and Sarah Palin are part of the establishment. They are part of the system which has managed to keep the American people under-educated, under-motivated, poor and disenfranchised. Just look at their campaign. They are running on a platform based on fear, not optimism, divisiveness, not American solidarity. These are the tools they utilize to divide and conquer.

The time has finally come for the American people, and they may be finally ready, to take this county from the ruling élite, and claim back the greatest of America for themselves. This I believe, on November 4th if there is to be hope, it must lie in the proles.