Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is a "Tea Party Occupation" in our future?

I can’t help but feel like Occupy Wall Street, now in its fourth week, is a movement without a cause.
Sure, I’ve seen their list of grievances — and most of what they find objectionable about the current state of our capitalist system, I find objectionable, myself.

They’re upset that the super rich have gotten increasingly more wealthy with the help of government and to the detriment of the working class. They’re upset that the super rich seem to have their own rules and flaunt that fact, despite the fact that it hurts the economy, the environment and our Constitutional rights.

They haven’t, however, come up with a list of demands. That’s somewhat understandable because, while it may be easy to point out what’s wrong, it is more difficult to come up with solutions.

They’ve been labeled as anarchists, slackers and lowlifes. Photos and videos that I’ve seen would indicate that they are overwhelmingly not those things.

What began on Sept. 17 as a protest in Manhattan has spread to a series of international protests about the plight of the working class, an increasing number of which is not working. And of those who are working, an increasing number aren’t making enough to stay afloat.

About two and a half years ago, I went to a Tea Party rally in Buffalo. The Tea Party movement was in its infancy, and I thought I agreed with some of their ideals. They opposed government intervention in their lives and wanted a return to days when government was controlled by the people.

It only took me one Tea Party rally, however, to realize that the Tea Party wasn’t for me. The fact that they invited an elected member of the New York State Senate to speak told me everything I needed to know. The Tea Party movement was just a bunch of disgruntled Republicans who weren’t so much upset at government as they were at Democrats.

I’m no fan of the Democrats, but we need them to keep the Republicans in check, in my opinion. And we need the Republicans to keep the Democrats in check. It’s a vicious cycle.

I can’t help but wonder, though, what would happen if the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement ever got together and realized that there’s a lot they could agree on.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been improperly branded as a leftist organization. First, it’s hardly an organization. Ask any three protesters what they’re fighting for, and you’re likely to get different answers. Second, they’re just as upset with the Democrats and President Obama as they are with the Republicans.

So the Tea Party is upset with government. And the Occupy Wall Street movement is upset with a system that rewards bad behavior. It seems to me that if they got together and found some real worthwhile candidates for office, they might both get their way.

I don’t think either movement is going to go away any time soon. I just hope that they realize that they can accomplish more together than separately. Frankly, we need some change around here.