One week while I was in Boston (for work), I was able to go out to the Occupy Boston encampment one night on Dewey Square during a planned march in solidarity with the first raid on Occupy Oakland. I filed into the rear of the march and about two blocks into it, something happened that still has me thinking.
As the group passed, three smartly dressed men began heckling me as they crossed the street from one of the banking buildings. I suppose they thought it would be cathartic to do so, but if you know me, it was an invitation to engage in lengthy and deliberate conversation.
Keep in mind, that I was still dressed for work. Dress shoes, dark slacks, button up shirt, dress trench coat. I looked like them. After persuading them that I was genuine in my request to have a honest and respectful dialogue with them, and convincing them that as an adult, employed, property-owing, middle-class American, I had some limited standing to address them, we got started.
Though they were initially dismissive of my point-of-view, they were most angry that I refused to become flustered or combative, and addressed each of their criticisms with my own perspective on the subject. Eventually, one of the three was nodding in agreement with me on several points.
After about 15 mins of conversation, the group thanked me for speaking with them but had one more thing to say:
“Where did all the money for this come from? I looked at the camp and all of the tents are exactly the same. George Soros or one of his democrat buddies must be funding this if you all have the exact same tents.”
I said that the tents were generally brought by the occupiers themselves, that they paid for them. Some of them may have been donated by individuals that had an extra tent around the house and came by to drop it off, but that they were not bought by an outside group “funding” the occupation.
“That’s a bunch of crap, if they had been brought by the protesters, they would not all be the same brand, the same tent. Someone is funding this.”
I said that the tents were not the same brand or model. They were in fact, all kinds of tents. Again he said that is was a bunch of crap. At this they left, and I thanked them for their time.
As I walked back to the occupation, I realized what the man had seen. The tents (of all makes and models, ages, designs) were covered with blue tarps. Unbelievable. These men had, apparently, never covered anything with a TARP…
Except their losses while gambling our money away on toxic, sub-prime mortgage derivatives.