Tea Party vs. Occupy on America’s Future
The Tea Party movement is truly a future-focused movement. While the message may revolve around restoring America’s founding principles and fiscally conservative values we once held, it is a movement about the future of America. The older attendees, in my experience, are passionate about leaving a better America for their children and grandchildren. I entered into the Tea Party movement at 19 years old because I believe America’s greatness can be secured in my lifetime.
The Occupy movement focuses on short-term issues and believes in antiquated ideas of the 1960s and 1970s. They find themselves more enamored with 20th century Europe than in the realities of 21st century America. Whereas the Tea Party movement looks to secure long-term solvency, the Occupy movement has called for items like a foregiveness of student loan debt. That may be good for the severely indebted recent graduates of America’s colleges and universities, but it’s a naively shortsighted call for more fiscal insanity.
Occupy is all rage and no vision. You do not hear clarion calls for a stronger America, but rather tirades against recent actions, including recent abuses of corporate welfare and crony capitalism. Both sides may hate the bank bailouts, but one does because of what it means for America’s future. The other side rails against big business and big finance because of how they believe they changed America’s past.
Tea Party vs. Occupy on Freedom and Individualism
Youth movements, historically, have long been defined by a rebellion against authority and power. The “free love” movement, as misguided and politically detrimental as it was, still tended to focus on individualism. They fought against the government’s War on Drugs, and disagreed sharply with the Selective Service requirements. These were fights against larger government, albeit fights against some of the core functions of government that conservatives like myself are ok with.
The Tea Party movement asks government to respect the individual spirit and fights the idea of a generation dependent upon government for social welfare and assured outcomes. The Occupy movement asks for the government to do more, whether it be pay for their education or take control of America’s imperiled free enterprise economy. A true youth movement embraces the rebellion in the human spirit. What personifies this better, a movement based on “Don’t tread on me” or one based on asking the government to bail out their lives?
What the Real Difference Is
A panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend took on the question of what differentiates the Tea Party movement from the Occupy protests. While the most common refrain might have been “soap”, the real difference is in what the movements do to the individual spirit. One embraces it, nurtures it and strengthens it. The other movement attacks the human spirit and drive to succeed and seeks to control, punish and minimize it. I choose the Tea Party movement because it ultimately asks me to do more for myself, my (future) family and my country. The Occupy movement asks me to admit I can’t face this world, as past generations faced and conquered their world. I am too optimistic to give in.