As we approach the onset of the 112th Congress, 99ers have one goal: survival. The path to survival is not easy to find nor easy to traverse. How many (former?) 99ers will see the 113th Congress? Only time will tell.
Mike Thornton gives a realistic glimpse into the rosy employment predictions of 2011. Frankly the analysis is uglier than the 2011 Tea Party Swimsuit Calendar (Yes, that's a mean-spirited unfair cheap shot and I'm proud of it). Donalee King gives a review of the (unsuccessful) strategies of the 99ers in 2010 and starts to detail the plan for 2011.
I am not criticizing the activism for Tier V in 2010. I'm proud of all that was attempted on behalf of the 99ers and honored to be considered a colleague of all those that fought for the 99ers. Unfortunately all the hard work resulted in exactly zero floor votes on extending unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks; the late September kabuki theater for S3706 doesn't count for squat.
I wholeheartedly agree that 99ers need to spend quality face time with our elected officials. I also think it's imperative to involve not yet 99ers and non-99ers. Reaching not yet 99ers will be most easily achieved by keeping the plight of the 99ers front and center. A graphic similar to the Doomsday Clock with the growing number of 99ers reflected weekly, daily, hourly (said graphic design is currently beyond my pay grade) until...
As for non-99ers, hopefully many will join those gainfully employed or voluntarily retired that 99ers count as friends. Other non-99ers may need to be brought along in more aggressive (no violence, never violence) manner. Blocking highway access or government buildings at starting/quitting times comes to mind immediately. Given time, I'm sure other non-violent forms of public education will surface. Perhaps even the Tea Party and union advocacy groups will become staunch supporters of the 99ers.
Eliciting support from the Tea Party is simple. An explanation of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" in The Declaration of Independence in conjunction with "provide for the common defense/promote the general welfare" from the preamble to the Constitution should be sufficient to garner Tea Party backing. I suggest an illustrated format with lots of pictures and short sentences in a large font. (Another mean-spirited cheap shot and I'm still proud).
Obtaining stronger labor union support is also simple. Union history along with a reminder that unions don't organize at D.C. cocktail parties should provide for stronger support for the 99ers. This union history need not be illustrated, at least for now.
I apologize for my cynicism and hope you appreciate my snark. Time to get it in gear. Tier V (for many) to survive.