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I haven’t commented much on the Occupy Wall Street movement, mostly because I’ve been too busy moving. However, though I fully support their right to demonstrate and protest, I find the contrasts between these protests and the Tea Party protests to be striking. The differences are even highlighted in their names. “Occupy Wall Street” implies a right to impose its will on others, to take over without permission other people’s property. “The Tea Party,” though inspired by an equally illegal act of stealing British tea and destroying it, now implies the much more benign activity of a gathering to express one’s opinion. And the Tea Party protests proved this by the fact that to this date no tea party protester has been arrested, and no laws broken. In fact, the only documented violence at any tea party event that I have found was committed by opponents of that movement.
As to what these movements believe in, I readily admit that I am in agreement with the Tea Party ideas of smaller government and fiscal responsibility. I will also say that I oppose the calls for socialism and even communism from some Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Nonetheless, there are many in this latter movement who are expressing the same kind of rage and frustration at the recent partnership between big business and big government that led to bad policy, unaffordable bailouts, a collapsing housing market, and a suffocating economy that have been similarly expressed by many Tea Party protesters.
The protests of both groups are merely a reflection of the anger that ordinary people feel about the failure of both government and business to act responsibly and with some common sense in these last years.