Most of you are too proud to complain about this but there’s something that’s been irking me for a while now. We’ve dancing around the subject but neither dancing nor silence get us anywhere and it’s time to speak up. You, my lovies, are being treated unfairly. Discriminated against for something you have no control over. And not for the reason many of you transvesite beauts are thinking– the chick con dick thing– but for one simple reason. Because you work on Wall Street. Because you work on Wall Street, you’re treated like second class citizens. Because you work on Wall Street, people look at you differently. Because you work on Wall Street, in the event you were to ever take the bus, people would probably give you a hard time about sitting up front. And that’s not okay! You shouldn’t be treated differently, you shouldn’t have to drink at segregated bars and you most certainly should not have to feel shame, or hide what you do for a living from non-Wall Streeters, who don’t accept your lifestyle. Because this isn’t a choice. You were born this way, and you should take pride in who you are. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Things had gotten entirely too annoying. First it was White House (and populist) complaints about Wall Street recklessness and greed (humongous bonuses). Now it was White House desire to attach new regulations and taxes to banks. Enough!
And so a rally was organized at lunchtime on the 23rd floor of 14 Wall Street, directly across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, in the cushy offices of John Thomas Financial, a three-year-old investment house. It was much more comfortable than, say, the street. As Thomas Belesis, the 35-year-old chief executive of John Thomas who hatched the idea, put it, “It’s cold out.” The specific purpose was to announce a nonpartisan organization called restorewallstreet.com, devoted to “bringing the pride back into Wall Street.”
Before the rally began, Mr. Belesis explained that he had begun thinking about forming this group in the last month or so as he heard “the repeating, relentless attacks on Wall Street.”
“I wanted the people who work on Wall Street to be heard,” he said.
Johnathan McHale, 30, a John Thomas broker, said he was “blown away” by the idea of the organization. But he wasn’t angry, either. “I’m too focused on raising assets,” he said. “And there’s pretty much a no-negativism policy here.”
Wayne S. Kaufman, the firm’s chief market analyst, alluded to the insulting and “infantile language” like “fat-cat bankers” emanating from President Obama.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “we’re citizens of the United States, too.”
The event didn’t quite go the way it was foreshadowed. The press alert promised a “rally with hundreds of brokers and traders.” In fact, about 30 of the attendees were from elsewhere on Wall Street. The rest were the brokers and traders at John Thomas. Since the rally was held on the firm’s 25,000-square-foot trading floor, where some 100 brokers had their desks, most of the attendees were basically working.
But we will not be disheartened. This is how these things start. Small, with only a few people brave enough to speak up. Slowly, surely, there’ll be more.