“Occupy Wall Street” Protesters Couldn’t Be More Different from Tea Party Movement, or from Rest of Country
October 19, 2011
First, insert here all the usual caveats about polls. Always take them with a grain of salt, etc.
That said, according to “probably . . . the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion,” 31% of OWS protesters “would support violence to advance their agenda.”
The American people aren’t buying what they’re selling, either. To the extent that there’s any coherent message from the Occupy Wall Street people, it seems to be that (1) “Wall Street” is to blame for the current recession and (2) we should raise taxes even more on “the rich”. As to point 1, at least a majority of Americans correctly understand that the real problem is the government. As to point 2, apparently,
Asked what the wealthiest 1% of Americans — the ones excoriated by Occupy Wall Street — should pay in taxes as a percentage of their income, more than a quarter of people — 28% — have no opinion. Another 21% say the richest should pay 10% or less, and only 18% say they should pay more than 30%.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is now also endorsed by the Communist Party USA and the American Nazi Party.
While we’re contemplating contrasting protest movements, let me say this: I’m losing patience with those liberals who continue to tar the Tea Party movement (or conservatives generally) as “racist” (speaking of liberals’ tendency to assume bad motives of those who disagree with them). That’s a very poisonous word to throw around so cavalierly. But let me take those liberals seriously enough, for a moment, to engage them and offer a rebuttal:
- I have been active in a local Tea Party group for months, and I was at one of the first Tea Party rallies in 2009. In my experience, it’s not racist; it’s not about race at all.
- That is consistent with this man’s experience as well. Memorably, a white reporter asked a black Tea Party protester whether he ever felt uncomfortable at Tea Party rallies, and he replied, “No, no. These are my people—Americans.”
- Consider the experience of another man, Kenneth Gladney, a black Tea Partier who was selling and giving away “Don’t Treat on Me” buttons when four liberals came and beat him up (video, transcript). (The local NAACP responded by calling Gladney an “Uncle Tom” and a “negro”.)
- But who cares about a few anecdotes, right? So consider this study of the Tea Party movement, from back when it was primarily a rally-in-the-streets movement. (If anyone can point me to a similar more recent study, I would be interested to see it, but I think it is also a different kind of movement now.) The study found that 6% of likely voters had participated in a Tea Party rally, while 47% had not but “generally agree with the reasons for those protests.” (I see that the Tea Party’s favorability ratings seem to have fallen since, at least in other polls with different wordings, now that the liberal press have had more time to tar the movement.) Of those who had participated in a rally, 5% were black, 11% Hispanic. “Actually, a third of the people who participated in tea-party rallies say that they approve of Obama’s performance in office and a fifth say that they voted for him in 2008.”
- Liberals have searched carefully for specific incidents of misbehavior on the part of Tea Party protesters. The closest they’ve come to finding any seems to have been the time when Tea Partiers were alleged to have used the N-word and spat on a black congressman, but it appears that that didn’t happen.
- Even if it had happened, that would have been one or two Tea Partiers out of millions (about 6% of the population, according to that study above). Based on the bad behavior of a few individuals, proportionately speaking, you could much more easily say that all of America is evil or racist than that the Tea Party movement is. It’s also important to note that liberals have made organized efforts to pose as Tea Party protesters for the express purpose of misbehaving and making the Tea Party look bad. I don’t know any conservatives who do things like that, but even among the few liberals who comment on this blog, there’s at least one who has tried to do almost exactly that, more than once (here is just one example).
Finally, for your edification and entertainment, here are some interviews with Occupy Wall Street protesters, courtesy of National Review Online. In order from funniest to most troubling:
See also Mark Steyn on narcissism and the cult of self-esteem.