Over the last few days, the media has tried to draw some pretty serious comparisons between the Tea Party and the "Occupy" groups that started on Wall Street and have since cropped up all over the United States. They are suggesting that the two groups are virtually the same, although the Tea Party draws on the Bible and the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams for inspiration and the Occupy groups consistently cite Che Guevera and Karl Marx. They are calling Occupy a grassroots movement, even though it has been proven that protesters are being bused in for the event, and in some cases even paid to be there.
The differences in their fundamental values and desires are, for the most part, polar opposites. Bill Hennessey did a fantastic job of outlining those differences in his blog yesterday.
As Hennessey mentioned, the only thing the Tea Party and the Occupy movement really have in common is our dissatisfaction with the bank bailouts. However, while the Tea Party is opposed to ALL government bailouts, the Occupy movement opposes any government bailout that is given to anyone other than themselves.
I would like to draw a comparison that I think makes a little more sense than the ones the media has been throwing out.
Imagine, if you will, that the Tea Party is actually a group of leopards. Leopards are generally solitary animals. In fact, just about the only time they really socialize is when they are concerned with raising and protecting their cubs. I'm not suggesting that the Tea Party is anti-social - rather, most of the people involved in Tea Party events will tell you that they got involved "because I had to," "because I need to preserve a strong, better America for my children," or "because I don't want my children to be forced to pay for my generation's mistakes." Very few of them envisioned, or even wanted, a life devoted to conservative political activism. In this case, their social activity is very much a function of protecting their children.
If the Tea Party is made up of leopards, then the Occupy movement is made up of monkeys. They swing from the trees, and when the group who went out and gathered food returns, they all surround the successful hunters and beg for food. The hunters share their food with their mates and favorites first, then may or may not share what is left with the others. Those who get little or no food sit on the outskirts of the group and grunt and throw things. They depend on other members of the group to groom their fur and remove parasites and insects from their skin.
What happened this past week is that the media realized that each monkey had one freckle. And instead of seeing a monkey with a freckle, all they saw was a spot that indicated that the animal was instead a leopard.
In the medical profession, there is a saying: "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses - not zebras." The media would do well to take this lesson to mean: "If it looks like socialism, think socialists - not Constitutionalists."