It's dangerous to draw too many parallels between the folks who turned out to protest in Tahrir Square in Egypt and the folks protesting outside the State Capital in Madison, Wisconsin.
Both situations are complicated and it's too easy to fall into a Glenn Beck simplistic, fact-free prescriptive rant about how we got here and what we should do about it.
But there are a few similarities.
In Cairo, you had a brutal dictator, the right-wing conservative Hosni Mubarak, backed by a powerful army, trying to persuade his people yet again that if they just maintained order, and went back to being docile and obedient, his rule would magically bring them all those wonderful things in life denied to them for so long.
In Madison, you have a right-wing conservative governor, backed by wealthy and powerful economic interests, yet again asking the middle class to act against its own economic interests. And they are doing so by trying to persuade these middle class "have-nots" that if they just give up their collective bargaining rights they would magically become "haves" and henceforth be free to pursue their "American Dream."
Behind the elected officials doing the official persuading were the puppet-masters: the folks we used to call fat cats whose formula for getting richer depends on the rest of us getting poorer.
This is now known as trickle-not economics. In America, trickle-not economic has resulted in the largest disparity in income distribution in our history. We have a tiny slice of the very rich. Then we have all the rest of us. And what used to be the Middle Class is disappearing.
In Egypt, the puppet-masters wore military uniforms; in Madison, business suits.
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