In the Arab world until recently it has been ruled by the tyranny of dictators and their endemic corruption marked by rigged elections, nepotism, cronyism, police state repression with emergency laws of indefinite detention and torture being the norm. Add in grinding poverty, widespread unemployment, lack of opportunity (even for the highly educated) while suffering the indignities, humiliation and disrespect at the hands of the regimes police and security personnel, the festering causes behind the current rebellion are pretty clear and understandable.
But here in the U.S. the tyranny and the corruption we face is mostly subtle and diffused, our society fragmented and dispersed, the suffering though widespread is in pockets and in different areas of the country.
Unemployment is "officially over 9% but is really closer to 16 or 17 % when considering "underemployment", part time work and those who have given up looking for work. Home foreclosures and personal bankruptcy are in the millions and still show no signs of abating. And even though the new employment numbers are up, the hardship remains in many areas, states and localities and is not widespread throughout the country. It is hardly a "recovery" of full employment and "good times are here again" (despite the positive spin of the administration or Republicans who believe [erroneously] tax cuts are the reason for the uptick). For that is really what it all is about, spin and illusion.
For in the U.S. the masters and perpetrators of our tyranny and corruption wear suits and ties, whether they be elected officials, big business moguls and their lobbyists in finance, the military/industrial complex, health insurance, big Pharma, big oil et al or wear Supreme Court robes.
These are the oligarchs of our plutocracy that benefit from the militarism and imperialism of our endless war economy and of course the war on terrorism that is used to justify the bloated and unnecessary defense spending that is bleeding and bankrupting the country.
When the financial industry imploded with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market (caused by their reckless excesses and greed) the government (which enacted the legislation that deregulated and unmoored the industry to engage in their banditry) bailed out the banksters and their AIG cohorts, making them whole again at the expense of the public.
The great recession that resulted (for which the banksters and their elected sycophants are equally to blame) also gave most state governments billion dollar deficits.
Instead of placing the blame for these deficits where it belongs, the states with Republican governors and legislatures are now blaming the public service unions for their fiscal shortfalls and demanding an end to their right to collective bargaining.
This callous over-reaching is being met head on in Wisconsin as thousands are protesting to protect their rights against a tyrannical Governor Scott Walker (while Democrat state senators remain in Illinois preventing a quorum and a vote on Walkers union busting tactics). There have also been reciprocal demonstrations in all 50 states in support of the Wisconsin protestors, making the issue national in scope.
That said, though the current protest is focused on protecting public service unions and collective bargaining in Wisconsin (and Ohio, Indiana and other states) the real battle is about our democracy and a government of, by and for the people of these United States or a plutocracy of, by and for the United States of Corporate America.
The first volleys of that battle for the soul of this country have begun in Wisconsin.
It won't stop there.