The Rage of Reason by Connie Schultz
Posted April 13, 2009 in Press Releases
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The man pulled me aside after my speech and said, "We need to talk."
He is a banker, and he wanted me to know that he shared my working-class roots and had made his fortune the
hard way, through long hours and a laser focus.
"You've got to speak out against this class warfare," he said. "People are getting so angry at us, and it's
dangerous. I earned my money. I earned my bonuses."
I suggested that the anger of millions of Americans is not directed at him, but at failing banks that got bailouts
and then awarded bonuses to employees who were darn lucky to still have jobs. Surely, he could understand
why that bothers a lot of people. Why would anyone working for a company in that much trouble get a bonus?
As it turned out, he works for one of the banks that did exactly that, and he was in no mood to hear that this
isn't the best time for him to be singing the po' man's blues.
"I earned my bonus," he said again. "And I'm tired of this populist rage that makes me the bad guy. I'm tired of
being attacked for being rich."
It was an uneasy moment for both of us. He couldn't see why our shared background didn't make me take his
side, and I couldn't see why our shared background didn't make him angry on behalf of the people we come
from. The only thing I think we agreed on was that the person standing in front of us was clueless.
There has been much hand-wringing lately over the surge of "populist rage." Love that term: populist rage.
What a fancy way to say the majority of working Americans are done being chumps at the hands of the