I spent last Saturday afternoon in the Wall Street area. I had been assigned by my colleagues from Politicalcontext.org to go among the masses and get some good interviews. I initially declined as the assignment appeared to be quite daunting.
As fate would have it, I already work in the Financial District and am therefore familiar with its buildings and environs. Earlier in the week, I had already experienced the massive influx of the NYPD, complete officers on horses, ready to quell rioting and/or protesting should it arise, bolstered by the extra 2 million dollars that Mayor Bloomberg had managed to squeeze from his budget. I was prepared for anything and hoped for the best.
Serendipitously, just as I alighted the subway stairs, I came across a realtor, his wife, an attorney and their daughter a high school student. We discussed the subprime mortgage crisis, greed and the general demise of the country - he is actually the first person interviewed.
What amazed me more than anything, besides the orderly fashion in which the protestors behaved, was the huge cross-section of the American public that came out to lend their support. I interviewed everyone from a ten year old, to grandparents, a school teacher and numerous college students.
There were too many amazingly well-written signs to count, though I tried to read them out on the air - one in particular reads: Take part in direct democracy. The wealthiest 1% has taken control of our economy and government. You are the 99% that is ready to take it back."
Talk about a powerful statement - even the 10 year old boy whom I interviewed near the beginning of the show was able to articulate the 99% and the 1% and how that works and why, in his opinion, it is not fair.
What an afternoon it was. Stay tuned for further live broadcasts and podcasts on this huge financial crisis. This evening (Monday), mayor Bloomberg has decided to recant his position and allow the demonstrators peace and quiet where they can protest infinitely.