As Occupy Wall St. becomes more and more a part of public discourse, its most notable by-product isn't necessarily the march to Union Square, the march to the Brooklyn Bridge, or the millionaires march. What's most notable is the fear these folks have engendered in both the media and financial elites. The reponse to that fear has been all too predictable if you look closely.
The media needs to be dealt with first, because they are the most impossibly hypocritical. Some of the same right wing writers, talk hosts, and bloviators who welcomed the rise of the Tea Party (armed or not) are prepared to condemn, sight unseen, a group of people seeking accountability on the part of those who drove the US economy into a ditch. What were patriots when they agreed with a right wing world view, became un-American, or a mob, or a bunch of whining, dirty hippies when it became clear they had a different agenda.
The tone of the rhetoric denouncing Occupy Wall St. masks a very basic, primal fear of what they can accomplish if they stick around long enough. Their leaderless, consensus built movement leaves some in media scrambling to "explain" why they're about, what they're doing, and why. Drill down a bit, talk to some of those who helped organize the movement, and they might find out. Too often, however, they simply look for a person or an incident that reinforces whatever preconeived notion they started with.
Just as bad are the politicians, who also see their comfy way of life threatened if this "thing" should get out of hand. Eric Cantor, Herm Cain, Peter King, and more that lined up to take their shots at Occupy Wall St. At least Cain, in an interview this past Sunday (when else?) said he had no facts to back up his ignorant rant. Cantor, King, and other critics understand that unless their base comes to loath these people, maybe they'll start thinking about the issues being raised. Without being brazen enough to claim to speak for them, I did do the WWRL Morning Show from Zucotti Park this past Monday. I got to talk to people of diverse backgrounds, ages, and even political views, but one thing seemed clear. Occupy Wall St. is metaphor for an America in pain, pained by job loss, pained by foreclosure, pained by health care they can't begin to afford, even if they are working.
Then they look at the nexus of political and financial greed that has taken the nation to this place of pain and ask why none of them have been arrested while a protestor was busted for writing in chalk on a sidewalk.