Published October 13, 2011
What’s the hold-up? Tea Party supporters should add their passionate voices to the growing protests on Wall Street.
Get down there immediately! A movement is being born! Why should the granola crowd get all the credit and have all the fun?
Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party: It’s a grass-roots coalition that is just begging to be made. It’s the also perfect opportunity to fulfill the second half of the Tea Party credo, addressing the excesses of Big Business along with those Big Government.
Most Tea Partiers understand. Government almost never acts alone. There’s an unholy alliance between those two bloated institutions that is responsible for many our problems today. As the voices of citizens are finally being raised effectively, neither institution deserves a free pass.
Over and over again, we’ve seen how intertwined Washington and Wall Street have become, each serving the other, each protecting its own. It make no sense to rail against TARP and the Wall Street bailouts without also targeting the big banks and others who soaked up all those millions in taxpayer funds.
They took our money and have given back precious little in return. Shouldn’t Citi, Bank of America, JP Morgan and the rest of these mega-sponges be taken to task as well?
That’s what the Wall Street protestors are pointing out in the name “the other 99 percent.” It’s a very Tea Party argument. The Tea Party should be helping to make the point.
Three weeks ago, it was easy to dismiss the ragtag demonstrators in Lower Manhattan. They seemed like a haphazard assemblage of college students, alternative-energy dreamers, Sixties retreads and a few real extremists. But as the days turned into the weeks, the numbers have grown significantly and satellite protests have popped up coast to coast.
The protestors’ base of support has grown far broader. Their decentralized decision-making and agenda-setting, though still cumbersome and time-consuming, is ardently – small d – democratic. “Come on down,” they say. “Be part of this.”
Just like the Tea Party in the early days, the Wall Street demonstrators are being attacked and dismissed and ridiculed. That will continue. But just like the Tea Party a year ago, clearly their message is striking a chord.
Actually, there are lots of parallels between the two movements.
Remember how some TV crews always seemed to focus on the weirdest, most extreme people at Tea Party events, making the wackos seem like the norm? That wasn’t true for the Tea Party and it isn’t true at Occupy Wall Street. Keep that in mind when you see the next live shot from Zuccotti Park.
These two movements will never agree on everything. One has left-leaning instincts. The other tends to lean right. But there’s some real commonality between these two decentralized movements. And this much is getting harder to deny: If real change is ever going to be more than a slogan, all of us have to find our allies where we can.
Sometimes, they’ll be denouncing the entrenched habits of Washington. Sometimes, they’ll be waving rainbow flags and fretting about billionaires.
Ellis Henican is a columnist at Newsday and a Fox News political analyst. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, “Home Team” with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and “In the Blink of an Eye” with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip. His website is henican.com.