Occupy Wall Street vs. The Tea Party

Wait, why is it always a head to head comparison of one movement against the other? Why can people not take each movement for what it appears to be? Why is it a competition? Could it be because there is an election around the corner and the politicians want to win votes?

I’m going to share a bit of my own opinion here. Please remember that I am not a “member” of the Occupy Wall Street movement although I do associate myself with the Tea Party movement.  Please also remember that I am in my twenties, so everything I say is not backed up with 50 years of experience (but that does not make it wrong).

I pay attention to the news. Let’s face it, it’s most of my day. For the past few weeks all it seems that I can hear about is how Occupy Wall Street has done this or done that.  They have pictures that are anti-Semitic (and they do, I have seen them on the Internet). There are communists and socialists out there (and there are). There are people doing drugs and having sex out there (probably, did you know that caffeine is a drug?).

Double Standards

I want to remind all the Tea Party members out there of something.  When you were actively having rallies there was a group there at EVERY rally I went to. This group, part of the LaRouche movement, was ostracized and asked to move to the outskirts of the rallies. When a member of the media interviewed them and you saw the clip on the news that night at home you would shake your head.  “That guy wasn’t there for the same reason WE were there, he was just trying to draw attention to himself, confuse people, and discredit our movement!”  When the media took an image of one person’s sign (one person out of a sea of hundreds, thousands, even millions) and flashed that sign over every major news source for two weeks straight you would shake your head and yell at the screen. “My sign was so much better than that and wasn’t offensive! There’s obviously a media bias issue here!”  When people said that the Tea Party movement was funded by the Koch brothers you would shake your head and say “My check must have been lost in the mail”…

My friends have gone down to Occupy protests to do outreach. They have gone to see what kind of people were there, to learn, and to educate. In many cases I’ve had people call in the show to talk about what they’ve heard from people as well as whether they have been embraced, alienated, or even kicked out.  All of these three things have happened.

In my opinion it is in the media’s best interest to drive a wedge between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement.  You can’t have everyone angry at the same people at the same time and acting together, this leads to, well, revolution.

What we have in commonI have seen this image floating around on the Internet. It shows a venn-diagram comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement. The simple venn-diagram points out that according to Occupy Wall Street “large corporations have way too much power” and according to the Tea Party “the government has way too much power”.  In the middle the venn-diagram shows that both groups agree that “large corporations lobby the government to have more power and in return the government enacts laws and regulations favorable to large corporations”. I realize that this is not 100% of the issues analyzed. Both groups have issues they are associated with which are not included in the venn-diagram.

Many people my age were told by their parents that they couldn’t succeed in life without a college degree (my parents certainly emphasized that enough) because that’s the way that things were when they were younger. Sadly the cost of college has increased quite a bit and spending $40,000 – $90,000 on a degree does not guarantee a “good” job anymore. No piece of paper (no matter how much you paid for it and how much you worked to get it) can make up for experience. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people in their forties  and fifties who are now competing for the same jobs as people in their twenties.  The people in their forties and fifties have mortgages, children, and retirement to worry about and will therefore show up to work every day without fail. These people are more “reliable” in the eyes of the employer. Many of the people in their twenties cannot get mortgages because they’re paying off student loans.

I am not saying that this debt needs to be forgiven, but the government is involved in the college education business. The government filled with elected politicians. An election year is coming.

I saw a Tea Party activist complaining about the Occupy Wall Street movement. “I just want equal treatment” (regarding the amount of media attention received by both movements). If this is true, give them equal treatment. Don’t point to two pictures and say that the entire group is anti-Semitic. Don’t look at the communists who have the anti-capitalism signs and say “these kids hate capitalism”.  Many of them don’t realize that the system we have now is crony capitalism, you’d be surprised how many people can have their attitudes changed if you talk with them civilly for a little while. Intelligent discussion does not have to be a thing of the past.

Don’t point to the politicians that say “good job guys” and say they are bought by that person or their political backers. Don’t say they’re all bought by George Soros if you aren’t bought by the Koch brothers. This holds true on BOTH sides. Don’t call all Tea Party members racists because one person associated with the movement says something offensive (and this happens).

Every movement has it’s fringe extreme.

Please remember, 6 months ago many people were complaining that the younger generation was not active politically.  Now that they’re active they’re criticized.  They’re learning how to engage the system and some leeway should be granted.  These people have been out in the cold for over a month. They have slept on sidewalks because they realize there is something wrong with the system.  Yesterday in Oakland they were tear gassed and shot at with those fun little rubber balls. These people have dedication.

The groups and parties that are “supporting” these protesters now will likely harness a massive force for the 2012 election cycle yet almost every Tea Party activist I know is saying “thank goodness my kids aren’t out there”…

How many of you complaining about how these protesters have actually been to one of the protests? This applies to both sides.

I encourage everyone to engage in their right to Free Speech and Assembly. I will speak to you before I judge you. But I’ve been called naive before and most likely will be called naive again.

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