There is much being said in various media venues of how the Occupy Wall Street movement compares with the Tea Party movement. These articles speak of the similarities of how the two movements have spread through the country. Both are the product of a grass-roots effort by people dissatisfied with the current administration's use of tax revenues - specifically, the use of taxpayer funds to bail out Wall Street.But this is the end of the similarities. It is the contrast between these two groups that lay bare the merit of a conservative ideology over a liberal one.
The Tea Party rallies are organized and coordinated with the proper authorities without interfering with private or public business. This group does not want anything from anyone; they desire only to keep more of what they earn in life.
Groups of Americans, fueled by a shared passion for a more sensible government, are the engine behind a movement that has spread like kudzu throughout the country. This movement is about real hope and change: hope that our government will be more careful with how it spends money, and a change to a smaller government that can better manage itself rather than the bloated one that plagues Washington, D.C. today.
Their motivation is the desire to see everyone have the same opportunity to achieve the American dream without interference or intercession from the government. They want government handouts to corporate America to end in order to aid in the reduction of the deficit and ease the burden on future generations.
This is a group of civilized people who have the best interests of the country at heart.
The Occupy Wall Street crowd is functioning more like a mob. Their goal is to disrupt the financial sector by blocking off the roads and sidewalks essential for its day-to-day operations, but what they are doing is far more destructive.
People whose living is dependent upon providing transportation services for individuals who work or have business on Wall Street are being impacted, as they are not able to travel unimpeded to these destinations and are unable to earn as many fares. Companies whose business is delivering goods and services to offices on Wall Street (the most lucrative slice of their customer base) are experiencing disruptions as well.
The people occupying Wall Street are not interested in the size of government, but they do share the Tea Party's desire to stop handouts to corporate America. That is not to say they want the money saved; they would just rather that money be handed out to their segment of the population.
They have a burning desire to see those who are wealthy suffer, punished for being rich. They feel these people are getting bonuses that are not deserved, judging those they do not know based on a work effort they cannot see.
What it boils down to is someone got more money than they did, and in their mind it is simply not fair. These people are driven by envy, wanting those who have success to give up more of what they earned. This wealth can then be redistributed to those who really "deserve" it. The future of America is of no interest to them, only what is in it for them.
Before anyone argues that the Tea Party is driven by greed and therefore no better than those driven by envy, think a moment about all the studies showing conservatives tend to give more to charity than liberals. Yes, the Tea Party supports people keeping more of their own money from an entity that has demonstrated it will abuse its resources (the government), but they also believe in providing funds to help worthy causes through charities. The idea is to give freely where it is needed, not use the power of government to take it from someone else.
Both groups seem to be speaking out against the current administration, but only one can say they knew better from the beginning. The other group made a decision it now regrets. It seems the Wall Street occupiers have a history of bad decision-making, and attempting to disrupt the nation's financial sectors when the economy is on the precipice of another meltdown proves they still are.
Come to think of it, maybe the Wall Street protesters aren't really against Obama; maybe they are willing to be his scapegoat if the economy tanks again.
(BJ Wood, of Evans, is a freelance cartoonist.)