The crowd was large and exhilirating [sic] in a variety of ways, and it’s great to be in the company of people so united, but it’s not for the sake of idle fun that people come out like this. These protests have a legitimate set of grievances that neither of our great political parties is doing much to address. The power of corporations over our public life and the misidentification of those corporate interests with the interests of our democracy is a big part. The failure of our economy to provide opportunities for earning a living to many of our citizens, and the failure of our political class to respond effectively is another. The contrast between these and the skyrocketing salaries for CEOs, bankers, and Wall Street money managers only makes the failures cut deeper.
Tom put the number in attendance at a minimum of 1,300 people based on a sampling taken during the march down Westminster. He also touched on what for me is the central difference between the Tea Party leadership and the Occupy movement.
The big difference I see is that the Tea Party leaders — the organizers, corporate funders, and Fox News hosts who did so much to drive turnout to the early events — see government as the only possible source of oppression and see salvation in the private sector, while the Occupy movement sees oppression — and salvation — in both the private and public sectors.
A simple call for spending less on government can feel good, but how does it help defend us against the depredations of our financial industry?