Both the Occupy Wall Street and the tea party movements are a symbol of the times. The American people are growing tired of the wealth disparity that has grown in recent years. Wall Street executives are receiving record bonuses in the post-bailout era while millions of Americans have lost their jobs, homes and a piece of the American Dream.
Despite the political differences between these two groups, both represent a growing sentiment among the American people that Washington lawmakers are leading the country to financial ruin.
The tea party movement, identified with the political right, originated with Ron Paul supporters and opposes the exponential growth of government through higher taxes, regulations and out-of-control national debt. Tea party members have crashed town hall meetings, protested in the streets of Washington and re-energized the Republican Party, leading them to major victories in the 2010 midterm elections.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters, represented by the political left, are waging their own local protests in more than 950 cities across the globe this month, according to Forbes, showing their anger toward financial institutions they feel helped create the financial crisis.
In the U.S., Occupy Wall Street has taken on a life of its own as thousands gather across the country to protest crony capitalism. In Europe, protesters are gathering in major European cities to rally against high unemployment and a reduction in entitlements due to recent austerity measures.
According to Forbes, more than 5,000 protesters in Frankfurt assembled at the headquarters of the European Central Bank, while others gathered in Hamburg and Munich.
Despite the differences in political ideologies, the two groups share a common thread – both feel there aren’t many opportunities for jobs and a better way of life. People have become desperate.
With college students accumulating thousands in student loan debt, high unemployment, falling home prices and the rising cost of living, Americans are becoming angry toward a system they feel has treated them unfairly.
The Democratic Party, including President Barack Obama, has shown support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, it’s important to note Obama received millions from Wall Street during the 2008 election, according to Business Week.
The Republican Party has gained substantial momentum from the tea party movement, but if a Republican is elected in 2012, it’s unclear if the tea party will still have relevance since they may no longer be needed for the GOP’s political purposes.
Whether you agree with the tea party or Occupy Wall Street, the groups have become woven together, representing the frustrations of the American people. The financial crisis doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so don’t expect either Occupy Wall Street or the tea party to go away, either.
Frank Nuez is a senior majoring in accounting.