Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement the liberal version of the Tea Party? The answer to that is no. While in their most basic states there is a similarity – groups of people rallying in opposition of something they disapprove of – but any comparison beyond that is disingenuous. Comparing the two is similar to saying the neighborhood pickup football game on Thanksgiving rivals the Super Bowl.
The Tea Party has structure, is well organized, and features some of the brightest political and media minds in the entire world. It went from political obscurity, in less than two years, to a transformative and prominent group in American politics. Love them or hate them, the Tea Party is a remarkable force.
There is a lot that can be attributed to the groups success, but perhaps none as important as their message. Not even so much what they were saying, but instead that it was coherent. While not everyone will agree with their message, they can agree that it was clear.
The same can’t be said for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. There is not a coherent message. The average person – liberal and conservative alike – does not know what they are protesting. On Tuesday, protesters showed up at the Hart Senate Building in Washington D.C. and threatened to push all the buttons on the elevators to inconvenience the people who worked there.
Juvenile is the first word that comes to mind, and then dysfunctional is second. No movement with a good message needs to resort to pressing the buttons on an elevator to inconvenience people in order to get their point across.
Perhaps the OWS movement could become something more than just a twitter trend, but they’ll need some serious structural advances in order to do so. For starters, this kid should not be allowed anywhere near a camera.
The bigger issue than the student who can’t tell you the purpose of the protest is that the “leadership” can’t express them either. The movement needs to immediately distance itself from the unattainable list of demands like “mulligans on national debt,” and adopt more realistic goals.
For a movement to thrive in our society, simplicity and civility must not be overlooked. There is a way to be effective and a way to bring about necessary change. It is not by pushing the literal buttons, but instead by pushing the figurative ones. The Tea Party didn’t complain to Congress, they ran for Congress. Any political idea can thrive given the right environment, but a message and an idea are a must.
Just being mad as hell and deciding not to take it anymore is not a viable approach for change. Take a page out of the Tea Party’s book, get mad as hell, decide you’re not going to take it anymore, and most importantly devise a plan.