Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin are the cofounders and national coordinators of Tea Party Patriots, America's largest Tea Party group.
Two groups, one "Day of Action," vastly different results.
According to the New York Times, more than 240 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in New York City on November 17; some for felony assault. As New York Mayor Bloomberg said, "some protesters today have deliberately pursued violence," resulting in injuries to seven police officers officers. How did the Occupy Wall Street protestors pursue violence? One threw a "star-shaped glass object" at a police officer, cutting his hand so badly it required twenty stitches. Another protester threw a corrosive liquid into the faces of four police officers. And a mob of 'Occupy' protesters tormented a group of "little school kids trying to get to class" chanting "follow those kids!"
By contrast, Tea Party Patriots across America visited our local representatives on the same day for what we called a "Deal in the District." The purpose of our civilized meetings with our local representatives was to remind them that the deadline for the "super committee" to find $1.2-$1.5 trillion in cuts was November 23, and that We the People want real cuts to government overspending, not fake cuts.
In contrast to Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action," the "Deal in the District" involved working through the democratic and representative process.
Which brings us to another point of contrast between the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street protesters: our different core beliefs. We want government to stop overspending. That means we want government to stop overspending on us. We want the government to live within its means—even though it will mean less "free stuff" for us—because we have not forgotten that America was founded on a Declaration of Independence, not dependence.
Occupy Wall Street was founded on a declaration of dependence on government. They want it to forgive their loans, give them free services, guarantee their living wages, and pay for the park they have overtaken—they want to shift the very building blocks of this nation away from what made America great and toward the failed socialist schemes that have brought continental Europe to its knees.
People ask us why the Tea Party has had such resonance and staying power and tremendous electoral results over the past nearly three years, while Occupy Wall Street has descended into madness and violence in just two months. It is because the core principles of the Tea Party Patriots—fiscal responsibility, free markets, and constitutionally limited government—are America's core principles. The core beliefs of the Occupy Wall Street movement are as alien to the American idea as their violent actions and anarchy are to shocked and horrified American citizens.
We want change. We want more independence from government. And we express our desire for change by doing the hard work of ensuring that our elected officials represent the will of the people. And the will of the people that we expressed to our government is that we want real cuts—not phantom cuts from an unconstitutional "super committee" instituted by a president who has little regard for our Constitution. How can President Obama pretend to do his job, or anyone in Congress for that matter, by abdicating all responsibility? Americans did not vote for absent representatives in government in 2008 and 2010. Is it any wonder why President Obama and Congress's approval ratings drop by the day?
We want Congress, the full Congress composed of our representatives, to make the necessary and difficult decisions to cut spending today. We're not looking for phantom cuts over some mythical 10-year period that will never come. The nation's problems are real, tangible, and present today. And the full Congress must deal them with—today.