Who vividly remembers the rise of the Tea Party and the
“rallies” protests they held? With Republican lawmakers introducing bills in at least eighteen states to crack down on protesting, I think it is worthwhile to take a little trip down memory lane. We know they have a problem with hypocrisy, but this is supremely blatant.
One of the big issues Republicans cite is blocking traffic. (Time)
Another problem they complain about is paid protesters who intentionally disrupt. (Time)
Some of the demonstrators came on their own, but many were affiliated with or inspired by the Tea Party Express, a cross-country tour that stopped in more than 30 cities, organizing rallies in protest of “out-of-control spending, bailouts and the growth in the size and power of government.”
In 2009, the U.S. Capitol Police arrested ten Tea Party protesters after they stormed into the Congressional office buildings. The were charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct; they were attempting to get to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in the Cannon House Office Building. (TPM)
Also in 2009, as TPM reports, “angry teabaggers and other opponents of health care reform are heckling members of Congress at their town hall meetings back home in an effort to sway the debate and drown out reform supporters.” The Democrats dealt with this already. It happened…in reverse.
Later, in 2011, Dave Serchuk wrote an op-ed for Forbes, “The Tea Party Never Got Pepper Sprayed.” He compared the way the Tea Party was treated to Occupy Wall Street. He was unable to find many examples of Tea Party protesters being arrested en masse; he only discovered small infractions here and there. This coincides with my findings. However, Occupy Wall Street was subject to numerous police encounters. There was not a significant difference in how they handled themselves, so he looked beyond that at what their movements were attempting to accomplish. This is important, because I believe this is the same issue the Resistance Movement faces today.
Maybe the police feel more sympathetic toward the Tea Partiers, than toward the Occupiers. I don’t know why this would be so, seeing as how the Tea Partiers are totally against public sector employees, such as cops. (Although Tea Partiers become apoplectic when threatened with the removal of their publicly funded Medicare.)Another possibility and what strikes me as more likely, is that OWS is doing something actually revolutionary, and this scares those in power that tell the police what to do.
This would only make sense as the Tea Party, for all its alleged anti-government language, is basically financed by people commonly referred to as pillars of society. Now these pillars may resent having to pay into the public kitty, despite reaping outsized gains from the benefits of our society, but they are still extremely powerful. The Koch brothers, for example, control one of largest privately owned firms in the U.S.
And the average Tea Partier tends to be older, wealthy, and white.
These are the people that Richard Nixon once called the Silent Majority. These are people that go home after disrupting town hall meetings, they don’t camp out. Although as of the past few years they haven’t been all that silent. And it’s arguable that they are still the majority.
This says to me that OWS is actually treading on dangerous ground, because it’s onto something. As Gandhi said: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.
The Resistance is on the right side of history, and these lawmakers know it. It scares them. The only defense they have is to attempt to create laws to try and slow the movement. It is unlikely they will hold up with the Supreme Court; but if they can pass them and have them apply for even a short time, in their minds, they have done something. It is the cowards’ way out. Honestly, would we expect anything different?