For the past few years we've been told that the Tea Party has controlled the agenda in the nation. And the 2010 election, at least in levels other than the US Senate, the Tea Party made inroads and seems to be controlling the agenda of the Republican Party, whether the party elders like it or not. This phenomenon seems to have arisen shortly after President Obama took office, even before he had time to do much of anything. Although he has been the focus of their ire, they seem to have been indiscriminate in their anger.
Now, we have the Occupy Wall Street movement that seems to be taking root across the country and some in the Democratic Party seem to be courting it -- perhaps as a leftward version of the Tea Party. Thus, even as the Republicans sought to make use of the Tea Party (and may not have control of it), the Democrats see this movement of anger as fitting their needs. Maybe it will, but from what I'm hearing and reading there is little coherent philosophy, other than anger toward those in control of the economy/finances.
Being a progressive Christian leader (if you will grant that as a pastor I'm a religious leaders), I have been courted by the movement. But, I'm still not sure what to make of it. There appears to be no clear ideology or plan emerging. Although the Tea Party is a rather variegated group, they did seek to take control of elections. Will this group use their organizing skills to help elect more socially responsive candidates or will they simply protest? If the latter, is this enough?
I guess you might call me an interested observer who is skeptical of the aims of the movement. If it ends up organizing people to work for the common good of all, then great. If its just a protest movement that's content to protest, then is it doing any good? Is it forcing leaders to work together toward creating good paying jobs? Protect the environment? (and what does that mean?) Work toward ending military adventurism? Extending civil rights to marginalized persons? Or is it something else?
So, I welcome your comments. Not just whether you support or don't support this movement, but why you think it has the potential to change the discourse in our country (not just in Washington). I think it's time to face the fact that what's happening in Washington is really a symptom of what's taking place in our own communities!