I am not the first to note the vast differences between the Wall Street protesters and the tea partiers. To name three: The tea partiers have jobs, showers and a point.
No one knows what the Wall Street protesters want — as is typical of mobs. They say they want Obama re-elected, but claim to hate “Wall Street.” You know, the same Wall Street that gave its largest campaign donation in history to Obama, who, in turn, bailed out the banks and made Goldman Sachs the fourth branch of government.
This would be like opposing fattening, processed foods, but cheering Michael Moore — which the protesters also did this week.
But to me, the most striking difference between the tea partiers and the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd — besides the smell of patchouli — is how liberal protesters must claim their every gathering is historic and heroic.
They chant: “The world is watching!” “This is how democracy looks!” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”
At the risk of acknowledging that I am, in fact, “watching,” this is most definitely not how democracy looks.
Sally Kohn, a self-identified “community organizer,” praised the Wall Street loiterers on CNN’s website, comparing the protest to the Boston Tea Party, which she claimed, “helped spark the American Revolution,” adding, “and yes, that protest ultimately turned very violent.”
First of all, the Boston Tea Party was nothing like tattooed, body–pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun. Paul Revere’s nighttime raid was intended exclusively to protest a new British tea tax. (The Wall Street protesters would be more likely to fight for a new tax than against one.)
Revere made sure to replace a broken lock on one of the ships and severely punished a participant who stole some of the tea for his private use. Samuel Adams defended the raid by saying that all other methods of recourse — say, voting — were unavailable.
Our revolution — the only revolution that led to greater freedom since at least 1688 — was not the act of a mob.
As specific and limited as it was, however, even the Boston Tea Party was too mob-like to spark anything other than retaliatory British measures. Indeed, it set back the cause of American independence by dispiriting both American and British supporters, such as Edmund Burke.
George Washington disapproved of the destruction of the tea. Benjamin Franklin demanded that the India Tea Co. be reimbursed for it. Considered an embarrassment by many of our founding fathers, the Boston Tea Party was not celebrated for another 50 years.
It would be three long years after the Boston Tea Party when our founding fathers engaged in their truly revolutionary act: The signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In that document, our Christian forebears set forth in blindingly clear terms their complaints with British rule, their earlier attempts at resolution, and an appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world for independence from the crown.
The rebel armies defending that declaration were not a disorganized mob, chanting slogans for the press and defacing public property.
Even the Minutemen, whose first scuffle with the British began the war, were a real army with ranks, subordination, coordination, drills and supplies. There is not a single mention in the historical record of Minutemen playing hacky-sack, burning candles assembled in “peace and love,” or sitting in drum circles.
A British lieutenant-general who fought the Minutemen observed, “Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob will find himself very much mistaken.”
By contrast, the directionless losers protesting “Wall Street” — Obama’s largest donor group — pose for the cameras while uttering random liberal cliches lacking any reason or coherence.
But since everything liberals do must be heroic, the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd insists on comparing themselves to this nation’s heroes.
One told Fox News’ Bill Schulz: “I was born to be here, right now, the founding fathers have been passing down the torch to this generation to make our country great again.”
The Canadian environmental group behind Occupy Wall Street, Adbusters, has compared the Wall Street “revolutionaries” to America’s founding fathers. (Incidentally, those who opposed the American Revolution fled after the war to … Canada.)
The — again — Canadians exulted, “You sense they’re drafting a new Declaration of Independence.”
I suppose you only “sense” it because they’re doing nothing of the sort. They say they want Mao as the president — as one told Schulz — and the abolition of “capitalism.”
The modern tea partiers never went around narcissistically comparing themselves to Gen. George Washington. And yet they are the ones who have engaged in the kind of political activity Washington fought for.
The Tea Party name is meant in fun, inspired by an amusing rant from CNBC’s Rick Santelli in February 2009, when he called for another Tea Party in response to Obama’s plan to bail-out irresponsible mortgagers.
The tea partiers didn’t arrogantly claim to be drafting a new Declaration of Independence. They’re perfectly happy with the original.
Tea partiers didn’t block traffic, sleep on sidewalks, wear ski masks, fight with the police or urinate in public. They read the Constitution, made serious policy arguments, and petitioned the government against Obama’s unconstitutional big government policies, especially the stimulus bill and Obamacare.
Then they picked up their own trash and quietly went home. Apparently, a lot of them had to be at work in the morning.
In the two years following the movement’s inception, the Tea Party played a major role in turning Teddy Kennedy’s seat over to a Republican, making the sainted Chris Christie governor of New Jersey, and winning a gargantuan, historic Republican landslide in the 2010 elections. They are probably going to succeed in throwing out a president in next year’s election.
That’s what democracy looks like.