Tea Party is nothing like leftist occupiers

Two Views • Protest camp sets off a debate on proper way to send a message
by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Occupy Portland demonstrators established a camp in Chapman and Lownsdale squares Oct. 6, a block from City Hall. The group is protesting Wall Street greed and a variety of other issues. Mayor Adams has allowed the camp to remain despite city policies against camping on public property.

Faced with structurally high unemployment caused by an overgrown nanny-state, Britain's Margaret Thatcher said, 'Socialism fails when you run out of other people's money.'

America seems to have come to the bottom of its wallet as the failure of socialism, a Marxist philosophy presented today as new and improved American progressivism, is becoming more evident. When our Democratic leaders use as a tactic divisive class warfare and blame to stir dissent to distract from the failure of their policies, the result is Occupy Wall Street and its Portland version.

Comparisons have been drawn between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party. But there is danger when attempting to equate the two political movements.

Both were born of discontent, but the similarities stop there. From its inception, the Tea Party movement has been based on coherent, consistent, time-tested principles and sincerity. It has been much maligned by the liberal media as Astroturf, racist, ignorant and extremist, when it is a mainstream populist movement upset with corrupted political institutions, debt, waste and government overreach. It adheres to 'American First' principles of limited and fiscally responsible government, free-market economic liberty, the rule of law, property and individual rights and personal responsibility.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd, on the other hand, is the antithesis of the Tea Party. It is in fact all things the Tea Party has been unfairly painted as. Its participants come across as ignorant and confused with no unifying message, no solutions, except to point and blame.

The occupiers tend to be mostly white, with shades of anti-Semitic racism. They are Astroturf with union participation. They are college kids from middle-class families crawling out of their parents' basements to play revolutionary protesters in the park, while crying about the very institutions that loaned them money to pay for college.

Attempts to paint the two movements as equal polar extremes lends undeserved credibility to the occupiers, and degrades the Tea Party.

Most troubling are the undercurrents of organized leftist extremism and the double standard evident in the hypocrisy of our elected leaders. Occupy Portland's far-left groups, like PSU's International Socialists, as seen on national TV April 15 at a Tea Party rally and tribute to America's veterans in Portland, verbally attacked Oregon families. Local media, lacking journalistic integrity, blacked out coverage of the fiasco.

After the leftist thugs attacked that day, requests were made to Mayor Sam Adams to condemn the action, in hopes that the city's response would not embolden the leftists to become something more dangerous. No such luck.

Instead, here in Portland, in spite of law-breaking, open drug use, calls for government overthrow, even accusations of sexual assault and general idiocy by some of the same people that attacked Oregonians April 15, our mayor proudly supported the Occupy Portland mob illegally occupying our streets and parks without permits.

If our public officials think this is an appropriate educational experience in democracy, I remind everybody that contrary to the common belief, we are not a 'democracy.' We are a republic. One of the Constitution's authors, James Madison, was well aware of what 'democracy,' which is socialism, really looks like when he warned, 'Democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.'

As we watch the Middle East destabilize, European social upheaval from decades of progressive socialism, as global protests turn violent and governments fail, and we see beginnings of the same here in Portland, one can only wonder if Madison and Thatcher's words aren't ringing true.

Is this what happens when socialism fails, and America, the bastion of hope and freedom, forgets who we are and what keeps us free?

John Kuzmanich of Cedar Mill is head of Oregon's Tea Party.