The Occupy Wall Street movement has been endorsed by our president, some members of Congress and by others as a movement that is good for America – one that shadows the tea party movement that began in 2009.
This movement just celebrated its two-month anniversary and is receiving unprecedented media coverage. Unlike the tea party movement, however, this group of people is involved in violence, lawbreaking and many other despicable actions.
If you listen to the media, the two groups seem to be voicing similar positions. In reality, however, they are worlds apart.
The tea party movement spontaneously formed from the reaction of the American people to fiscally irresponsible actions of the federal government, misguided “stimulus” spending, bailouts and takeovers of private industry. Within the first few weeks of the movement, tea party patriots formed to support the millions of Americans seeking to improve our great nation through renewed support for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free-market economic policies.
The movement is 100 percent grassroots and has no national leaders.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, however, is a direct result of union organization and community organization, and is organized and encouraged by leftist activists. The movement is also very well funded.
The biggest contrast to date is the level of violence, arrests and law breaking that shadows the people involved in Occupy.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a tea party event in Washington, D.C., at the downtown Convention Center. During the event we were informed that the building had been surrounded by about 500 Occupy D.C. protesters who were attempting to break into the building and were aggressive. As a result of their activity, the building was placed on lockdown.
They were banging on the windows and placing small children in front of the doors to keep those attending the dinner from leaving. I left the ballroom to get a look outside. The building was surrounded by Occupiers, security guards and police. They were chanting, beating on the building and blocking the streets.
Protesters blocked all the exits, and people were finding it difficult to leave the building. Those who managed to exit were attacked with physical violence.
As I walked around the building looking out, I noticed several people being attacked by the protesters and being hit with objects and their fists. At one exit they knocked down an elderly woman and surrounded her. At another exit they attacked people as they exited by allowing them to get halfway or more across the street, then grabbing the last people in the group and hitting them.
This is the kind of action that mobs use to get their point across, not peaceful groups like the tea party movement. The contrast of the groups is very obvious. No tea party group ever left a mess at a rally, attacked people or destroyed property.
Also, the message of the tea party movement is very clear: It wants to save and restore our republic, and make sure America has a firm and prosperous future for all. It does not want to tear down our country and bring on a socialist state by demanding that everyone receives everything from the government.
The next time you compare these movements, take time to investigate the differences and ask yourself which one is working for the good of society.
I think you will come away with the correct answer without a shadow of a doubt.
By Emery McClendon for The News-Sentinel Emery McClendon is a FedEx employee, Air Force veteran and a leader of the local tea party movement.