Partisan news missing the point: Youth, poor have greater reason for dissatisfaction than tea parties
Predictions of a youth uprising sweeping the United States in 2011 appear to be turning increasingly true, according to a recent poll.
Figures supporting that hypothesis, produced by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) for a liberal blog, were cited by partisan news figures as proof of a growing violent radical element in the tea parties.
But that's missing the larger statistic.
Across Europe in the last year, youth have led sweeping civil unrest in protest of corrupt governance, harsh austerity measures and what they see as a guided collapse of their economies.
In Greece, riots became a daily reality in 2010 as Athens has been repeatedly crippled by black-clad youth openly fighting police in the streets.
In France, hundreds of thousands shut down the economy in response to a proposal to raise the retirement age.
In Italy, cars burned and shops were smashed over the barely-there coalition government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
In London, a massive hike to college tuition fees led throngs of angry students to smash up the Supreme Court, Treasury and conservative party buildings. Protesters even got within grabbing range of Prince Charles and the Dutchess of Cornwall, attacking their car with blunt objects and paint as it passed.
In Tunisia, acting on disclosures by WikiLeaks about the economic dominance of the former dictator's family, a 26-year-old street vendor set himself ablaze in protest of high unemployment, sparking the unrest that quickly toppled their government. Thanks to his success -- even in death -- more self-immolations have been reported in Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania as authoritarian Muslim regimes looked on in fear of their populace.
And that could just be the beginning, if the predictions prove accurate.
Partisanship obfuscates truth
A statistic from PPP that got little play from liberal commentaries showed that American youths -- not the tea parties -- are more inclined to think of violence against the US government as acceptable.
A full 17 percent of those ages 18-29 said yes, that violence would be justified, while a further 15 percent were not "not sure." Granted, while those figures come out to a clear majority of young people -- 68 percent -- saying violence is not justified, it also means that 32 percent either disagree or haven't made up their minds.
Another statistic sure to surprise some beltway liberals were the responses of poor people, who tied with tea partiers at 13 percent in saying violence would be justified. A further 24 percent said they weren't sure, bringing their level of certainty against violence down to just 63 percent.
Compounding the potential for civil unrest, the poor and the tea parties, according to prior statistics, were two very different, separate groups with virtually no cross-over.
In a survey of Americans who voted in 2008, the nonpartisan group Project Vote found that, by and large, those sympathetic to the tea parties were white, wealthy and affluent people, whose political views represented approximately 29 percent of the electorate.
By comparison, blacks, youths and low-income voters, who turned out in record numbers to support President Obama, make up 32 percent of the electorate -- and their views could not be any more different than their conservative counterparts.
The poll, published last Sept., described tea party participants as "overwhelmingly white" and "universally dissatisfied," even though having "the least reason for dissatisfaction."
"Only six percent [of tea party participants] reported having to worry about buying food for their families in the past year, compared to 14 percent of voters nationwide, 37 percent of blacks, 21 percent of youths, and 39 percent of low-income voters," they added.
Discussing the partisan rhetorical fray on MSNBC last night, liberal news anchor Keith Olbermann failed to mention these figures, focusing instead on tea partiers and violent rhetoric prevalent in many Republicans' public discourse.
Speaking to Russia Today recently, trends analyst Gerald Celente -- who predicted the 2008 economic collapse far in advance -- suggested that a youth uprising is inevitable thanks to the emergence of a new kind of journalism that values full disclosure over other goals.
"What we saw in England, again with 'off with their heads,' what we saw in Italy with the students taking to the streets, you're gonna see in Spain, you're going to see in Ireland," he said. "You already saw it in France. Figure it out."
"The US is going to be slower, but it's going to happen here at a different level," Celente concluded. "Remember, the US has been beaten down and pushed down. You're going to see a revolution world-wide. What's going to unite them in this cause is another major trend: Journalism 2.0."