Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Sigh. For the record: for me, this is an extremely tough op-ed/post to write, so I suppose I’ll just get right to it.I’m liberal.
Proudly, loudly, and staunchly liberal.
I mean, I guess I make my occasional breaks with the Democrats – I mean, I don’t actively care a whit about the environment (other than to believe that, yes, climate change IS occurring and our ignoring it will serve as one of the great intellectual follies of our time) and, to be honest, I just can’t get particularly behind Pelosi as Speaker of the House (our gender does not a communal understanding make).
I do, however, vote consistently “left” and won’t shut the hell up about “liberal” issues to and with anyone who is unfortunately subjected to my relentless energy on the subject.
Here’s the confusing thing about my leanings, though: while I vote, think, and crusade as a passionate liberal, I f#cking hate hippies. I mean, hate them in the most irrational, aggressive, and angry way possible. As an undergrad at UW-Madison, I would often walk by the hippies littering Madison’s streets – those useless loiters ensconced in ill-fitting natural fabrics, smoking sweet-smelling cigarettes, and inevitably blocking my way into the State Street Taco Bell – and curse them and their incoherent rantings whenever possible.
Little did I know back then, I suppose, that much to my eventual regret and embarrassment, these intellectual-thorns-in-my-side would come to represent all that I stand for and believe in.
Because, you see, while, yeah, I understand the Conservative’s point-of-view (and corrosive arguments against Occupy Wall Street), I still side with, well, the smelly hippies loitering about the streets of dozens of American cities. Why? Some evils are worse than others, I guess, and while I disagree with the notion that one side is completely right, while the other is equally wrong, I do agree with OWS that Wall Street OWNS this country, government, and our futures – even worse, our tax dollars (yes, those tax dollars we complain so fervently against using to keep our loneliest, most defeated-and-marginalized American brethren from, you know, dying in the streets) subsidise not just Wall Street’s greed, but incredible ignorance and risk-taking, the likes of which our modern markets haven’t seen since 1929.
Furthermore – and, please, REALLY think about this – we, as Americans, not only pay for the money mistakes of our financial institutions (“No, see, I may be a CPA, but I screwed up balancing my checkbook, so you owe me cash to make up for my mistake”), but, if Conservatives had their way, these very-people-making-the-expensive-mistakes would pay taxes at a LOWER rate into the very system that continues saving Wall Street. That’s right – while we demand the elderly choose between life-saving medications and food, we, as a political system, continue to tell (and vote in regards to) Wall Street, “Hey, guys, we’ve got this. Don’t worry about the tab – you’re so fantastic, we’re more than happy to underwrite your recklessness while you travel, buy, and consume overseas.”
This, then, brings me back to my central point: yeah, I may not love the seeming disorganization and aggressive bongo-playing (sigh, yes, I know) that feature so prominently in the Occupy Wall Street crusade, I DO fully endorse and support the movement’s key tenets that we, the people, need to take this country back. To continue supporting, elevating, and worshipping the rich is to continue driving the United States into the ground, out of the spotlight, and into geo-political obscurity.
Finally, an ending point of consideration for those arrogant Wall Streeters drinking their champagne, turning up their noses at, and otherwise arrogantly disregarding the Occupy Wall Street movement and members: I have heard more than one of you literally say, “Sigh, let the dirty masses eat cake” and “What is this, the French Revolution?” Um…guys? Stop with the comparisons.
For while I know you’re attempting to sound above-it-all, informed, and knowledgeable, you’re actually referencing more than a few historical precedents that, you know, ENDED IN REVOLUTION. Against the elites. For while you sniff your brandy and offer up “cake-eating,” you obviously forget that the very woman who allegedly uttered that famous sentence ended up, just days later, beheaded in the streets of Paris.
In short, while I may disagree with Occupy Wall Street’s hippy ways, dear elites, please remember: history is on OWS’s side. The masses win. With critical mass, they always, certainly, historically win. But I guess you wouldn’t know that. You can’t even keep your businesses afloat, without our cash, apathy, and support.
Margaret Bogenrief is a partner with ACM Partners, a boutique crisis management and distressed investing firm serving companies and municipalities in financial distress. She can be reached at [email protected]