Whiners are whining about the Occupy Wall Street protests being too uncivil and causing too much of a disturbance. Dear Whiners, this is how protest works when you aren’t supporting a major political party and your orders and talking points aren’t delivered to you via Fox News and wealthy backers like the Koch brothers. Grass roots protest movements don’t typically begin with a how-to playbook. It also doesn’t help that police from Oakland to New York have repeatedly clashed with protestors, using pepper spray and rubber bullets to attempt to break up protests. So yes, trying to force real change isn’t always appealing to the eye. Sometimes it’s a just a damn mess.
The Tea Party, on the other hand, is a top-down movement. The message trickles down to angry people who think the cure for their anger is to elect politicians who in turn vote against their better interests. There’s no doubt that the Tea Party will ultimately be more successful because their success is gauged by how many Tea Party supporting politicians get elected. Once they’re in power, their only responsibility to the Tea Party is to defy Democrats, which means that the Tea Party is basically just a limb of the Republican Party. How can the Tea Party not succeed when their interests are already being served by one of the major political parties? There isn’t a Michele Bachman equivalent hanging out at Zucotti Park or traveling around the protest circuit giving speeches. While a few politicians have voiced their support for the OWS protestors, most are steering clear. There’s a lot at stake for politicians. They don’t want to seem too fringe and they also don’t want to piss off the big banks who support them in favor of light regulation.
Conservatives who are coming out condemning the OWS movement just because they perceive it to be a liberal movement are idiots. They’re labeling it a liberal movement because it’s a protest against big business mixing with politics, and that’s that the bread and butter of Republican politics. But this is not a protest against Republicans. It’s a protest against our whole system in which every member of Congress is responsible. And this is why the OWS movement will likely not be as successful as the Tea Party movement. The problem is massive. There are too many politicians who are influenced by lobbyist and are mesmerized by the influence of the big banks. For many, trying to grasp the demands of the OWS protestors is difficult because it’s almost in indictment of democracy itself.
But the truth is that our system is not working. Watch Republicans and Democrats gridlock about the most minor of details and tell me that this is working. Read about the ridiculous super committee and tell me that this is working. Read about regulations that are gutted in favor of big business and how there are massive loopholes for the wealthiest of Americans and tell me this is working. We have politicians who are literally signing oaths to lobbyists. Everything our politicians say and do is dictated by the election cycle, which in turn is run by corporate dollars. So if the OWS movement never makes a dent in our political system it will at least have been great representation of the anger of the 99 percent.