I live in Texas. I'm also just finishing up college. As a result, I have a broad exposure to both the Occupy movements, mostly through my college friends, and also the Tea Parties, through other friends and family that are mostly conservative.
The mass media tells us that the Tea Parties are ultraconservative, racist right-wing radicals that want to criminalize homosexuality and abortion, and force an agenda from the religious right on the entire country. It also says that the Occupy movement is nothing but unemployed 20-somethings that want the government to provide them with a welfare state so that they can stay home and smoke pot while they play video games all day.
I spend a lot of time talking to people about this issue, and the more I talk to people, the less I believe the mass media in their description of either of these movements. I've met a couple of pot smokers that like the occupy movement, and I've got a couple family members that I think may have hit their heads a few times falling out of the family tree. But by and large, most of the people I've talked to on both sides want the same things.
Both sides see the fact that special interests have taken over the government through our campaign finance system. Everyone generally agrees that it's wrong to interpret the exchange of money for political power as "free speech", no matter who does it. Speech is our ability to influence people on the merits of our ideas. Money isn't speech; it is power, and passing it around in exchange for the ability to change the rules of society in your favor should not be protected as an unalienable right the way our freedom of speech is.
Both sides also hate being lied about more than anything. No matter which side I talk to, everyone feels like they are being portrayed by the mass media like a pack of screaming radicals. It seems like all the media does is take every camera they have, and point it at the one guy in the corner of the room that's acting like an idiot, then plaster that image onto every single news feed like it's the only thing going on at the protest. I have friends on both sides who think that the idiots are actually hired to come in there and act stupid just to make the movement look bad so the movement won't gain traction.
So I've got a poll for all my friends in the Tea Parties, and in OWS. If you think that the REAL enemies of America are the guys in the media and the partisan noise machine trying to keep us divided, and the guys on the "other team" are getting treated as badly as your team is by the media, then vote to make a NEW team that transcends the partisan bull****, and tell us your opinions on how this new team should best handle the bad guys.
If not, then pick your team, and tell us why it's more important to keep your team intact, and destroy the other team. Tell us why you think that that's a better way to solve the country's problems.