Search This Blog

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party: A View from Texas

At Scripps-Howard, Trish Choate reports that West Texas lawmakers and tea party activists say that they have little in common with Occupy Wall Street. Choate quotes a political scientist on similarities and differences between the tea party and Occupy Wall Street.
"Occupy Wall Street is capturing more of the general dissatisfaction and malaise within society," University of North Texas political science professor Kimi King said.

The Tea Party movement argues we need to change by shifting more to the right, King said. Occupy Wall Street argues we need to shift more to the left.


King sees some glaring differences and some similarities between the two groups.

"The Tea Party wants to change the election outcome for 2012," she said. "Occupy Wall Street wants to change society for the next decade."

It's questionable whether Occupy Wall Street's goals are the same across all of the groups in the United States, King said.

The Tea Party, however, focuses on a narrow range of issues, King said. Tea Partiers also have more history and experience, as well as more organization and money.

"They have been successful in gathering support from political candidates for their views," King said.

Occupy Wall Street seems to be suffering from being a relatively new phenomenon, she said.

Both movements are using the right of assembly and free-speech rights to raise awareness about their causes, King said.

"But the method that Occupy Wall Street is using will sooner or later become problematic unless you have identifiable goals because while you have free speech rights, no free speech right is absolute," she said.

Concerns about public order, sanitation, criminal behavior and the general health and welfare of individuals allow the government to impose limits, King said.

"That's not a free-speech issue," she said. "That is an issue of maintaining health and welfare."