A bunch of protesters from New York City organizations came out in busses last Friday morning to demonstrate on the street in front of billionaire Steven Schwarzman’s house in Water Mill. You couldn’t see the house, of course. It has high hedgerows all around and a gate with a code that would have to be punched to get it open. Nobody did that. You can’t go on private property. But the public street is something else. It’s America and all of this is welcome so long as it doesn’t disrupt traffic.
The demonstrators were out to oppose Schwarzman’s financial support of Donald Trump and his tax plan that would take money currently being spent on the poor and give it to the rich. There was chanting, lots of handmade signs and a wood-framed “toll booth” that required the poor to pay to come through but has an E-ZPass for the rich.
The issue they were chanting about was entirely about infrastructure, and the essence of it was that with the new tax plan the poor would have to pay for highways and bridges while the rich made money with their companies building them. This was a fairly sophisticated thought.
What a contrast it was to see a ragtag group of people in what I call shopping mall clothes standing outside, shouting in front of this tightly clipped and beautifully sculpted hedgerow with an important white gate handsomely turned out between lovely flowers. It really did look like barbarians at the hedgerows. It made me wonder if they were at the right house. All “houses” on this street look the same. Green hedgerows. White gate. Code box. Well, they had the address. I think.
They were there for several hours, chanting and shouting. It was unlikely that anybody in the Schwarzman household would have wanted to go in or out during that time. Well, I’m sure they had lots of provisions inside.
The police came by and saw everything was pretty much in order. Or everything is now, until—and this is about freedom, not money—it could descend into a dictatorship with all the new laws and rules that Mr. Trump has put through or tried to put through that diminish citizen’s rights, punishing immigrants, the media, the courts, the environment, our European friends, democracy and anything else that disagrees with him.