Meghan McCain for The Daily Beast: My Day at Occupy Wall Street

October 24th, 2011

The Daily Beast
By Meghan McCain
October 24, 2011

“Are we supposed to choose between feeding our children or paying our rent?” asked Yvette Vigo on a recent afternoon, from a lawn chair where she had been occupying Wall Street for nine straight days. “In my case, I had to choose to feed my children instead of paying my rent. I have six kids and I was lucky if I made $15,000 a year. If anyone comes here and talks to us, they will know that we aren’t here for handouts. We want somebody to hear us.” Vigo, 45, says she was a teacher in the Bronx until she was laid off last year. She has no intention of leaving Wall Street anytime soon. Her story was of many I heard, as I pushed through hundreds of protesters at Zuccotti Park carrying signs like “Arrest the Bankers,” and a flag that said “Debt Is Slavery.” These Occupy Wall Street protestors are tired, broke, and mad that corporate America has robbed them of the American Dream.

Depending on your perspective, Occupy Wall Street is either indicative of the future—how a group of people can practice activism through social media—or a leaderless (and therefore hopeless) endeavor. It’s the left’s populist movement. The anti-Tea Party party, if you will, that’s shining the spotlight on the evils of corporate greed and the kind of behavior that served as the catalyst for our economic downfall. Or, you could also argue, it’s just a hippiefest, a Woodstock for 2011, packed with freeloaders who just want to lament about the success of the upper class.

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