Occupy Wall Street has often been compared to the Tea Party; I think it’s usually meant as an insult. By comparing the grass roots protest of the Tea Party to the amalgam of radicals at Occupy, they can diminish the Tea Party’s success and make all protests distasteful to the general public.
There is little similarity. While the Tea Parties were neat and orderly, the Occupy protests are noisy, juvenile, and stinky. The Tea Parties were friendly while the Occupy movement is violent, angry, and crime ridden; they have the same problem with lawlessness that plagues most Democrat-controlled cities.
This explains why there is such a vast difference between the two. The Occupy movement is not only mostly Democrat; it is also democratic. Likewise, the Tea Parties are both a republic and Republican. They are microcosms of the political philosophies they each represent.
Tea parties are controlled by the rule of law and are planned in advance. They acquire proper permits, rent PA systems, Porti-Potties, and Tents. When they’re over, people pick up the trash and go home.
Occupy is famous for creepy chanting after every speaker finishes a sentence and a guy relieving himself against the side of a police car. Some of the Occupy residents have, ironically, used the facilities of McDonalds and Starbucks and even took ironic shelter from the rain in a Bank of America ATM kiosk (I’m sure the irony is lost on them, though). They loudly proclaim that “this is what Democracy looks like!”
Constitutional author James Madison would agree. In Federalist # 10 he wrote: “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Two years later, the French Revolution made his words almost prophetic. Absent an existing governmental structure to fill the vacuum, post-revolutionary France exploded into chaos. A Republic is necessary to defend the rights of the minority. Without such protections, government degenerates into mob rule.
And mob rule is exactly what we’re seeing in the Occupy protests. Their rally cry of “We Are the 99%” takes a triumphant delight in announcing that the opposition is way outnumbered. There is no clear message outside of anger. Attempts to write a list of demands have been hindered by the very democratic process they cherish.
In their miniature utopia, there is no personal security or right to property. They could not even maintain enough civility to protect their drums from vandals. The OWS drummers had $8,000 worth of damage done to their kits. When it came time to vote for reimbursement out of the OWS Treasury (lately estimated at $500,000), they couldn’t even find the consensus to replace them. The drum owners were told to beat sand.
The Tea Party wants to change the system from within the existing structure. They seek to use the electoral process, to vote out the big spenders and restore fiscal sanity to a republic that has already proven its viability. The Occupy movement wants to tear down the system, and replace it with… replace it with… well, they’ll figure that out, after they grab something to satiate their munchies.
We are certainly in trouble if these people get hold of a guillotine.