Tea Party vs. Occupy
Sandoval Competitive Scholarship
Jaycee Dean accepts a plaque after reading her prize-winning essay at the Advisory Council meeting on April 29. From left: Former Business Manager Jack McNally (who served as judge), Jaycee Dean, President Mike Davis, Cindy Dean, Bob Dean, and Business Manager Tom Dalzell.
Jaycee Dean, daughter of Assistant Business Manager Bob Dean, was named the winner of the Al Sandoval Scholarship for her essay. The assigned topic was to compare and contrast the Occupy and the Tea Party movements.
“Teaing off on Wall Street”
By Jaycee Dean
Progress cannot be achieved without the efforts of individuals deemed to be radical or extreme. Passion and endurance can drive a nation into examining their problems and looking for solutions. The Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements are similar in that they each desire to spark a change in the United States leading to an outcome that is, in their opinion, better for American citizens. However, the beliefs that build the foundation for each of these movements are fundamentally opposite.
Moving toward their goals while claiming a sense of unity, is a tactic used by both organizations. The Tea Party movement’s most fundamental belief is “we the people’ preserving liberty and freedom in the United States of America”. The Occupy movement believes that “99%” of Americans should fight against the injustice of the 1% controlling the economy. Both parties utilize imagery of Americans banding together to fight an inequity done to them by the government of the United States. This association with common man, that the movements employ, helps to draw in members who want everyday people to constitute a change.
To the Tea Party, the constitution is the umbrella under which all change must occur. They believe in “reforming all political parties and government so that the core principles of our Founding Fathers become, once again, the foundation upon which America stands.” Although the Tea Party advocates the 14th amendment and equal protection under the law, their affiliation with the GOP—which has a strong anti-collective bargaining stance–contradicts their endorsements of equal rights for all citizens. So though the people involved in the Tea Party claim to support the freedoms of individuals and limited power of federal government, they believe that abortion, collective bargaining, and gay marriage should be illegal in all cases regardless of any state decision.
Occupy Wall Street, in contrast, does not operate on a merely constitutional basis but on a deeper sense of morality and equality in the United States. Occupy focuses on the “99%” of American citizens whom they believe have been left behind; those who are struggling to meet bills, obtain medical care, and seek higher education. The movement recognizes the wealthiest 1% as corrupt and the economy as being in need of repair. The Occupy movement has not taken root in the Democratic Party as the Tea Party has in the GOP, though that kind of influence would strengthen their power in the government.
The two movements are diametrically opposed; in beliefs and in actions. The Tea Party, a movement that started growing in 2008, has gained serious momentum and control in the Republican Party. The Occupy movement established in 2011 has settled on a strategy of occupying locations in over 100 cities, and is gaining power across the nation. Ultimately, though radically different in their methods, both movements are trying to affect grass roots change.