Occupy Wall Street vs. The Tea Party
If I may dig up one of my all-time favorite Onion articles:
79 Percent Of Americans Missing The Point Entirely
WASHINGTON, DC—According to a Georgetown University study released Tuesday, 79 percent of Americans are missing the point entirely with regard to such wide-ranging topics as politics, consumerism, taxes, entertainment, fashion, and professional wrestling. . . .
I've been trying to organize my thoughts about the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, not to mention the protests themselves, and I keep coming back to that Onion article, because any way I look at it, just about everyone is missing the point.
The problem, and I suppose this was inevitable, is that Occupy Wall Street is being portrayed as some kind of anti-Tea Party. Left vs. right, blue vs. red, rock vs. country, et cetera—it's the only way we know how to draw battle lines anymore. But how are the two movements meaningfully different? I sure as hell can't figure it out. There are plenty of minor differences, mostly concerning priorities and demographics, but the similarities are much more substantial. Both are popular uprisings against powerful-but-nebulous entities believed to be responsible for America's economic struggles. Both are defined not by easily-identified leaders, but by the sum total of countless unique viewpoints, and thus are not capable of articulating their goals with any cohesiveness or specificity (nor should they be expected to). And both movements, to borrow the classification scheme created by Bill O'Reilly, are teeming with both pinheads and patriots.