By: Kamala Kelkar
The Occupy Wall Street protester who passed President Obama a note at a New Hampshire campaign event on Tuesday is a 27-year-old FedEx technician who “didn’t really think much of it.”
In fact it was Ryan Glen Hirsch’s first time actually participating in an Occupy event, ever. He’d gone to one before but just to film it from the sidelines, he told The Daily yesterday.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday Hirsch moved into the spotlight when he handed the leader of the free world a note containing a short message from the 99 percent.
Hirsch said he instinctively slipped Obama the note at the Manchester event — after the protesters’ coordinated shouting of “mic check” was drowned out by the president’s supporters — because “it’s an important message.”
The slip of paper contained what the Occupy crowd of 20 or so had been trying to say in unison before others at the event drowned them out.
So when Obama started making his way to the door, Hirsch found himself close enough to tell the president, “I am really sorry we interrupted your speech, but here is a copy of the mic check. Just wanted to be sure you got the message.”
Then he handed him the note, and the moment was captured by an Associated Press photographer.
“I didn’t think I was doing anything out of the ordinary,” Hirsch said. “Another person in the audience tried to give Obama a photograph before I handed him the note.”
Hirsch said the president acknowledged his apology and made a comment about his own intentions to be more vocal about the movement.
But after being an Obama supporter last election cycle, Hirsch said the president probably won’t get his vote next November.
“He hasn’t come through on a lot of the promises he made,” said Hirsch. “I’d like to see him repeal the Patriot Act or at least replace it.”
Hirsch also wanted to clarify one thing about the now infamous missive: “I crossed out ‘America’ because there’s a global crisis,” not because he is anti-American.
Born and raised in Pelham, N.H. — population of about 13,000 — Hirsch said he lives with his parents and 20-year-old sister.
He said some of the Occupiers’ demands are a “little unrealistic,” such as eliminating college tuition and debt, but that overall he agrees with the movement.
But he didn’t even know the shot existed until it went viral yesterday.
“I’m just happy I got our message to Obama and we got the message to the press,” he said.