Conservatives from around the country have congregated in Washington, D.C. this week for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). It’s an opportunity to hear some great speakers on the topic of conservatism, get a chance to shake the hands of presidential candidates, and meet and greet other political activists.
Of course, these days, wherever conservatives gather, there’s sure to be a crowd of unwashed hipsters there to beat drums and protest capitalism because it’s way no fair that anyone should have to actually work for a living.
On Friday evening, a couple hundred Occupiers set up camp outside the Marriott (where the event is being held) to taunt us conference-goers. “We are the ninety-nine percent,” they shouted at people just trying to make their way back to their hotel. “We want the same things you do!”
Unless they want them to take a shower and get a job too, no, we don’t want the same things.
The Occupy protests have been compared to the Tea Party movement, but the two things have little in common. I’ve participated in the latter, and have witnessed the former, and the only thing they have in common is the fact that there are people there.
The first thing you’ll notice is the difference in the law enforcement present at the two rallies. Tea Party events have the stray cop or two, milling around just in case anyone gets a little too rowdy. They usually end up being really helpful in directing traffic or giving directions. Occupy events have a multitude of cops – in riot gear. They are helpful in keeping the peace.
The attendants are a little bit different too. Tea Partiers represent a broad cross-section of American demographics. Grandparents, babies, blacks, whites, men, women … you name it, they’re there. Go over to Zuccotti Park, and you’ll find a majority of white kids under the age of 30.
Their goals are different. The Tea Parties are gatherings of people that want to share ideas on how to get the government off the back of business so that we can get America to work again. The Occupiers hate the police, but want the government to pay all their bills. I wonder if anyone’s told them that the government sent the police.
The Tea Party has been demonized in the media. Occupy Wall Street has been praised by President Obama.
They are not the same thing. As online conservative activist said in a speech at CPAC as the Occupiers swarmed outside, “There are two paths … one is America, the other one is Occupy.”
Image via Glyn Lowe Photos/Flickr