Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy vs the Tea Party

"When I give food to the poor, I'm called a saint. When I ask why they are poor, I'm called a communist." -Archbishop Dom Helder Camara.

The American political system pretty much boils down to the craven and corrupted Democratic Party, the venal and corrupted Republican Party and smaller parties who are mostly well-intentioned but don’t show the tiniest desire to become remotely electable (bearing in mind there are thousands of public offices below the presidency). What a depressing state of affairs. No wonder there’s so much frustration and anger that’s been expressed via the non-partisan Occupy movement and the formerly non-partisan Tea Party.

The Tea Party has been taken over by the Republican Party (the Dems would love to co-opt Occupy but they haven't succeeded yet), but there are still strains within it that remain independent and certainly the anger that originally animated it was organic; most of them are part of The 99 Percent too. The left likes to look down their noses at the Tea Party as comprising The Other, ignorant, racist rubes, but this ignores what the two movements share.

Both the Tea Party and Occupy reflect the anger of ordinary people against a corrupt system that serves the elites and not the people... or rather, at the expense of the people. The main difference lies in the response. The objective of the Tea Party is to starve government of money, since cash is what feeds the beast of corruption. Occupy's is to re-direct that money so it's used in a more humane manner. Both want to blow it up. One wants to replace it with something better; the other believes that something better is not possible so replace it with nothing.

Both really diagnosis the same problem, but offer different prescriptions.

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