As the Occupy Wall Street marches spread across the nation, one thing remains constant: The unbearable arrogance of the Ivory Tower traders and shills. Check out some of the reactions reported around the country.
"I don't think it's directed personally at everyone who works down here," Klingman said. "If they believe everyone down here contributes to policy decisions, it's a serious misunderstanding."
Another man in a suit yelled at the protesters, "Go back to work!" He declined to be interviewed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who made his fortune as a corporate executive, has said the demonstrators are making a mistake by targeting Wall Street.
"The protesters are protesting against people who make $40- or $50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That's the bottom line. Those are the people who work on Wall Street or in the finance sector," Bloomberg said in a radio interview Friday.
Oh, and Andrew Ross Sorkin took a stroll through the protesters with a CEO banker buddy, who asked:
“Is this Occupy Wall Street thing a big deal?” the C.E.O. asked me. I didn’t have an answer. “We’re trying to figure out how much we should be worried about all of this,” he continued, clearly concerned. “Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”
God forbid, Mr. Banker. God forbid that your personal safety should be at risk. God forbid that you should look upon those people with those signs down there and ask whether your hide is toast or tanned.
Really? I'll be the first one to admit that I've had reservations about the whole effort, but as time goes on those have been mostly laid to rest. And when I turn and look directly into the face of selfishness and greed like that banker's, it's reminiscent of Dickens on one of his worst days. He should count his blessings that these people are committed and determined to remain nonviolent.
The arrogance and utter lack of any understanding is amazing. Bloomberg, the unnamed idiot who shouted "Get a job!" at them, as though they have lived all their life to camp out in the middle of Manhattan with no tent or other shelter, and then this banker. What has happened to simple empathy?
Lest we think the 1 percent has been humbled and is ready to change, witness this, via Chicagoist:
Yes, those signs were put in the windows of the Chicago Board of Trade. I suppose that's because they needed their middle fingers to type out trade orders on their Blackberries.
Digby's reaction to Mr. Banker was similar to mine, but more articulate:
I love how these Masters of the Universe are shocked that there is growing unrest over their antics. It's as if they thought they could continue to profit at the expense of the rest of the country even as they whined and blubbered like little babies at the mere suggestion that they might want to cool it a little bit.
This behavior has not gone unnoticed. From the beginning, I have been astonished by the inability of these supposedly smart peopleto see that they needed to rein in their worst impulses, if only to preserve their golden goose, (I did personally scare one by using the pitchfork metaphor.) But they couldn't shut up, couldn't stop publicly justifying their excesses couldn't refrain from strutting around like a bunch of entitled aristocrats even in the face of widespread suffering.
A backlash was inevitable. They should be glad that it's a bunch of peaceful protesters. They have acted with such arrogant impunity it could have been much worse.
Yes, but their attitude still confounds. How can anyone be so tone-deaf? To comfort myself, I pulled out the worn-out Dickens books, and went hunting for my favorite quotes. Here's one just for Mr. Banker:
“Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seeds of rapacious licence and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.” - A Tale of Two Cities
And for Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Nasty "Get-A-Job" Screamer", a reminder of their very heavy chains:
“I wear the chain I forged in life....I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” - Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol
And for the 99 percent, this:
“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out...” - A Tale of Two Cities
Despite what their signs say, that 99 percent does have hope. If they didn't, they wouldn't bother to paint a sign, tack it to a stick, make their way down to Manhattan or Los Angeles or Boston or Chicago and shake their fist at the arrogance thrust in their faces. They do have hope. May it be realized to its fullest measure.