After completely ignoring the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, finally someone at the New York Times seems to get it (albeit in an opinion piece, not in the regular news):
Indeed, the twin drivers of America’s nascent protest movement against the financial sector are injustice and invisibility, the very grievances that drove the Arab Spring.
In the past month, it has been odd to read Twitter and blog posts from the Middle East taking the Wall Street protests far more seriously than anyone here has. My reflexive response was to explain that they didn’t understand our politics; after all, that is so often what citizens of other countries tell Americans when we opine oh-so-knowingly about their politics.
But in this case, I am beginning to suspect that people abroad with long experience of disenfranchisement and trampling of their dignity may in fact understand the fissures in our society better than we do ourselves.
I’ve been long baffled how our media seemed (or at least claimed) to understand the protests that drove of the Arab Spring, and yet when faced with similar protests at home were completely clueless. In most cases, the media either ignored the protests or ridiculed them.
They covered how the Internet (including things like Twitter and Facebook) fueled the protests in the Middle East that have increased democracy and even overthrown dictators. But they refused to understand how the same things might happen here. Are we really that blind? How else will people react when faced with a dysfunctional political system that makes average people feel powerless and betrayed?
Hopefully, the Democratic Party (including unions) will not be able to co-opt this movement the way the Republican Party (including large corporations) took over the Tea Party movement, because the problem is not a partisan one, it is endemic to our political system.
And it is also clearly the fault of our mainstream media, which can’t recognize the problem because they are part of it.