Wednesday, September 01, 2004
"Billionaires" Get Pink Slips
Somehow...I woke up early this morning, and half-asleep (but not necessarily half-awake) took a trip to the Wall Street District. Wednesday's first official protest was a silent one: a symbolic unemployment line that would stretch up Broadway from Wall Street, past the garden, to 34th Street. Since Bush assumed office (thus making an ass out of you-and-...fuck that...Ralph Nader). The line was organized by People For the American Way; The Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues, and Ideas; and the New York State AFL-CIO.
I joined a pack of credentialed reporters just before eight a.m. The protesters I saw (from Wall Street to Canal Street) were mostly dressed conservatively and a hearty mix of different races, ages and genders. Each person held a pink flyer - warning "The Next Pink Slip Might Be Yours!" over their head. It was truly an inspiring sight to see (check back in a few days to see my PICTURES!); although I doubt that it will attract as much media attention as the 1,000 arrests on Tuesday.
Just as it turned 8:13, I heard a voice screaming, "Shine my shoes!" Just as I suspected, the Billionaires for Bush (Billionaires For Bush) had joined the proceedings. Buddy Gaddeway Withett (and another "billionaire" whose name I didn't get) taunted the protesters: "Oh, woe is me. I've lost my job. Whose country? Our country! Whose taxes? (pointing at the line) Your taxes!"
The line was formed to represent the net loss of 1.2 million jobs lost in America since George Bush came to power and the - roughly (and boy is it rough...I was out of work for almost half of Dubya's tenure) - 8.6 million Americans who are currently unemployed. The organizers were hoping to attract a crowd between four and five thousand (I personally saw a few hundred in my zone), but I think they were a little short on manpower. It's more than likely that some willing applicants had been rounded up the day before and were unable to attend.
As I headed uptown, I overheard a protester say to another, "We made the effort." "That we did," his friend responded. Further up along Broadway, I spied a father and daughter walking along the sidewalk with pink flyers in their hands. "A lot of people saw it because everyone was going to work," he proudly told her.