Three reasons the OccuParty pushed the Tea Party out of the spotlight

Has anyone heard from the Tea Party lately? Since the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown exponentially in recent weeks, the Tea Party has been conspicuous in its relative absence from the news.  Not that I mind, but what I think happened to them is pretty interesting.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, what I like to call The OccuParty, has found much more support than the Tea Party ever could, and has grown just as fast, perhaps faster than the Tea Party did.  Here’s Why:

  1. The OccuParty has aimed its frustration, anger and outrage at the correct target – Corporate America.  For all its populist swagger, the Tea Party kept trying to blame the government, President Obama, Communists, Socialists, and your grandma for the ills of America.  Much of what’s wrong with America is that we are no longer a nation of, by and for the people – we are a nation of, by and for corporate interests.  The rights of corporate personhood have replaced the rights of flesh and blood personhood.  This is common sense stuff.    For a wonderful curriculum on Corporate Personhood, Constitutional law and the problems it has created for us (and how to fix this situation) see The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s Danial Pennock Democracy School online.  I’m certainly not the only one, nor the first one to notice this about the Tea Party. Doug Muder has a great essay about this here.
  2. The OccuParty isn’t overtly racist. This may be obvious, but I’m still not sure that the Tea Party understands how ugly and racist they seem to so many people.  The obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate and the image of just being a bunch of angry white people really put a damper on any chance they had of being anything but a regional or fringe movement.   The Occuparty may not be perfect, but it is far cry from the Tea Party when it comes to race and religion.  The Tea Party let race and religion limit their message.   I heard a comedian on television the other night say, “When did unemployment become a crisis? When white people became unemployed.” There’s a lot of truth in that.  Unemployment, lack of health care, poverty and a host of other ills in our corporately controlled culture have been issues in communities of color for decades.  Now that they are major issues for white people, first the Tea Party (who tried to blame people of color for these problems) and then the Occuparty (who at least seem to realize that we’re all in this together, even if it took white people being affected to get everyone in the streets).
  3. The OccuParty is trying to be nonviolent.  The Occuparty has a host of issues – the banking system, corporate greed and control, democratic reform, poverty, jobs, health care, and so on, but so far it is not making the Second Amendment one of the sound byte reasons to get into the street.  This is smart. As much as Americans in general may or may not favor the right to bear arms, guns just equal violence for many people. So do targets superimposed on congressional districts.  The Tea Party may be in actuality just as nonviolent as the OccuParty, it may not be, but the Tea Party sure seems more violent to me or at least angrier and more inclined to violence.  This is another reason its audience was always limited to the angriest white people.


2 thoughts on “Three reasons the OccuParty pushed the Tea Party out of the spotlight

  1. Since when does loving God and Country make you a racist? Most of the complaints in this article about the Tea Party are exactly what the media wants people to believe. I live my life trying to be a good mother, wife, employee, and trying to help people as much as possible. I stand for the Tea Party. I cherish the freedoms that are possible because of the way our country was founded, and I am not: a racist, angry, or ready to riot in the streets. I am not religious–I am a Christian and it’s a way of life.

    1. Hi Pat,
      Loving God and Country don’t make you a racist. However an obsessive, almost compulsion with the president’s place of birth, making signs that show KKK hoods are racist behavior. It’s behavior that was not media driven, frequently not reported by the media. Consistent brandishing of guns, making an ostentatious show of owning guns to the point that it comes across as a threat is something I see as a violent behavior. I understand that all people who sympathize with the Tea Party are not racist or violent, but that’s not what I wrote. The things you are concerned about are also what the Occupy movement is concerned about. The Occupy movement may not be a religious movement, but it is intentionally being inclusive and that is not something I have observed in the Tea Party. What I have observed in the Tea Party is a doctrine that likes its supporters to be capitalist, white and Christian. My reading of the gospels is that Jesus would be in solidarity with anyone in solidarity with the poor, the left out, the forgotten and the outcast. He would not be anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, or many of the other anti’s so often associated with conservative movements like the Tea Party.

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