Occupy Wall Street shares roots with tea party protesters but different goals - Politics Wires - MiamiHerald.com
Occupy Wall Street shares roots with tea party protesters but different goals
They could be fraternal twins from the same political womb and separated at birth.
At first glance, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the tea party movement appear to be polar opposites. One rails against, among other things, the overarching power of wealthy banks, the other assails the federal government’s overreach into businesses and people’s lives.
But a closer look reveals that the two movements are as much alike as they are different, despite assertions by some backers of each that such comparisons are overly simplistic.
“At 30,000 feet, they both look quite similar in that there is anger, there’s a demand to be heard, and there are concerns that are legitimate,” said former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, whose 2010 re-election bid was stymied by tea party opposition. “The tea party was initially dismissed as being not very important and the Occupy Wall Street people are being dismissed as not very important.”
Karanja Gacuca, a laid-off Wall Street worker who’s become a member of Occupy’s press and public relations committee at New York’s Zuccotti Park protest site, agrees.
“They were both born of grievances, similar grievances,” he said.
The origins of both movements are rooted in anger with the nation’s financial industry triggered in large part by the federal bailout of Wall Street institutions in 2008, according to several experts who study political and social movements.
That anger was compounded by frustration with lawmakers who members of both movements say haven’t listened to the people who elected them to office.
“The banks are holding back on giving back to the economy,” said Paula Goldfader, a 78-year-old New York retiree. She held a hand-made sign that read “Congress Hear Us Now” as she sat among protesters Monday in Zuccotti Park. “They’re working for the stockholders, outlandish pay scales for CEOs. We all have people in our lives that are unemployed.”
“The similarity may just be we are frustrated with the behaviors on Wall Street,” added Brendan Steinhauser, director for federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a group linked to the tea party movement. “However, the tea party is much more angry and frustrated with politicians in Washington, D.C., than the Wall Street occupiers are.”
Other tea party leaders view the Wall Street protests with disdain and say any comparison between the two is apples and oranges.
“Those occupying Wall Street and other cities, when they are intelligible, want less of what made America great and more of what is damaging America: a bigger, more powerful government to come in and take care of them so they don’t have to work like the rest of us who pay our bills,” Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, co-founders of Tea Party Patriots, said in a written statement headlined: “Occupy Wall Street? They’re no Tea Partiers.”
If anger and frustration are the ties that bind Occupy Wall Street and the tea party, the links begin to fray quickly after that…