The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements are essentially different shades of the same color. While the language and messages may differ, both are rooted in taxpayer exasperation and disenchantment with the politics and cronyism of the Washington Beltway and the extravagance of Wall Street. The tie that binds them is the realization that the individual taxpayer is being shunned and will ultimately be left footing the bill for corporate bailouts, political favors, federal debt, and budget deficits.
These forms of citizen protests and activism, along with the ballot box, are the surest way for the electorate to send categorical messages to elected officials who seem more loyal to their ideologies and special interests, than to the concerns and complaints of their constituents and our nation. The evolution of the two movements proves that the public’s increasing lack of confidence in Washington and Wall Street is not limited to a particular political party or ideology.
Liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans seem to be united in the reality that special interests, money, hubris, and corruption have contaminated our political processes. One way to respond to the brokenness and dysfunction in Washington is for regular folks to continue to rise up and demand that the political elites do the people’s business or risk being replaced. Washington and Wall Street would be smart to recognize the strength and energy of grassroots political and social movements as they evolve and reshape the political landscape.