"I've worked my ass off since I was 15 years old. I have worked hard. I know what hard work is," O'Meara says, building up an obvious head of steam. "I also have another word that's in my vocabulary, called compassion, for people who bought into the American Dream...Those people have been summarily f--ed." Attacking OWS, O'Meara argues, is nothing more than "misguided hatred." "You're picking on the wrong people." Now, for those of us close to the movement, there's nothing really new in the substance of O'Meara's stirring defense. He broke no new ground, except that he actually chose to come out and say it.
O'Meara closed by suggesting his stand might not be terribly popular with his audience. "I'm going to get a lot of hate, and I stand by it because I don't give a rat's ass," he says. "Because I happen to believe that you should pick up your neighbor when your neighbor's in the toilet. You should spread it around a little. I believe that. I'm not an effing socialist. I'm an American. I love this country."
The point is that he felt free to defend the movement at all, and to do so with the vigor he did so. O'Meara may be right that a lot of his listeners won't agree with him. But what he left unsaid is that most of his listeners won't really hate him for it. If middle America, O'Meara's podcast also is broadcast on on-air radio stations in Iowa, too, really was against the movement in a wholesale way, O'Meara wisely would have steered clear.
While O'Meara may have the leeway to challenge his audience, he can't afford to alienate them, or the advertisers who he relies upon to support his show, either. The facts are that middle America isn't as against the movement as its enemies would portray, and that O'Meara came out swinging strongly in favor of it last week. Maybe O'Meara changed some minds in favor of the movement. Maybe he didn't. Either way, chalk it up as a big win for Occupy, and for what it represents.