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If you've been struggling to understand the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York -- and now nationally -- you're not alone.

The group sprang up with very little media coverage and a murky -- at best -- message. But we'd be wrong to ignore them, just as we learned it was wrong to dismiss the Tea Party movement.

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One thing that is common to both groups is a healthy dose of frustration, if not anger, with the way America is run. But this is where the two groups part ways.

The Tea Party has a lot of messages and doesn't just speak with one voice. However, if you were to boil down the movement's message, at the core, it's "responsibility." As in, we need to grow up and be responsible and face our debt problems.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has a different message. Boiled down to its essence, the message seems to be "fairness." As in, we're tired of a rigged game benefiting those with connections.

Responsibility and fairness. Although very few people would likely identify with both groups, it's important to note that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. We should be able to run our country in a way that's both responsible and fair.

Whenever a movement like this pops up, whether it's here or in the Middle East with the Arab Spring, our media and our leaders always ask exactly the wrong questions: "Who is behind these groups?" "Who does this benefit politically?" "What do they want to shut them up?"

But with both groups, it's better to ask, "What has gone wrong that this has happened?"

And no one seems to be even asking that question, much less working on the solution to it.

Tea Partiers would be justified to look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and guffaw at it, or dismiss it. But the Tea Party taught us all one important lesson: when a large movement of people is passionate and organized, we should probably take a moment and pay heed.

What does Occupy Wall Street want? I don't know, and maybe they don't either.

But a little more responsibility and a little more fairness from our leaders would be appreciated by all.

The Pioneer Journal editorial represents the collective voice of the paper's editorial board. Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, editor and publisher.

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