I have a confession to make. When I was 19 and 20 years old, I was a paid protester. I remember walking around the mall during vacation one day and getting approached by a guy who offered me lunch, a t-shirt, and a $10 gift card if I would protest outside a Macy’s store.
“What are we protesting?” I asked him. “Oh, just the fact that we aren’t getting paid enough and don’t have enough hours,” he responded. “We deserve to make more money!”
“Sounds like an excellent cause, sign me up!” I told him as he gave me all the goodies so I could walk around for 1.5 hours shouting a slogan in front of the store. I was oblivious to what I was protesting since I was not one of them. I just pretended to be a victim so long as I got a free meal and the $10 gift card to spend at Footlocker. We didn’t have iPhones and iPads like all the protesters today. We kinda had nothing.
DO IT AGAIN FOR THE EXPERIENCE
It was so fun to protest, I decided to do it again the next summer. This time, it was in front of a Hilton hotel where plumbers were on strike, again for insufficient wages. I received another lunch and $10 bucks as well as a sign that read, “Pay us fairly, or we’ll blow your shit up!“ It was a blast!
I admire the Occupy Wall Street movement. I know some of them are paid or sponsored just like I was, while some of them really think that they are making a difference by sitting around and chanting. You’d think it might be a better use of time working on their interview skills, resumes, and credentials. But, sometimes, banging drums and hugging each other is just way too fun!
If I was unemployed and living at home, I’d definitely go out there and share the love of the people. Times are tough, and if we can come together and sing, it feels great! I do that all the time with my trusty old Martin acoustic guitar. I know a lot of you don’t know exactly what you are protesting about, since taxpayers did make over $10 billion from TARP bailout money so far, and it was the government who provided all the goodies and not Wall St. But, who cares? It’s all about one love.
STAY CONSISTENT AND PERSISTENT
So to all my fellow protesters out there, carry on! Everybody should experience one protest movement at least once in their lives. It’s invigorating! Not only that, it provides perspective and empathy once you’re on the other side of the fence.
Just don’t go protesting capitalism and then carry an Apple product and charge it at McDonald’s, the most profitable restaurant chain in the world. Don’t protest animal rights while wearing leather shoes either.
Go naked to really fight rampant capitalism and income disparity!
Finally, if you’re one of the 50% of Americans who pay no Federal income taxes, then Wall Street and capitalism hasn’t taken your money one bit. Have fun and keep up the good work! Power to the people!