As a tea party guy, I was offended by Susan Detwiler's letter ("Proud of the protesters," Oct. 11) in which she mischaracterized the difference between the Occupy Wall Street movement and "the [tea party] movement bankrolled by billionaires," suggesting Wall Street occupiers are more mainstream.
My wife and I marched in the tea party rallies in Washington, and we never saw a dime from any corporation. We got our notice of events through sharing e-mails with like-minded people, same as the Wall Street occupiers. We're not wealthy, so if we're not mainstream America, then neither are those occupiers.
There are differences. The tea party has a coherent purpose. We want smaller government. The occupiers want more from the government, including one of the most frequently stated demands — "free higher education." Of course, in order for the education to be truly free, the Harvard professors would have to donate their time and work some other job to pay their mortgage. Of course, the Wall Street occupiers don't mean that, so what they mean is that they want someone else to pay for their education. Yeah, and I'd like someone to buy me a Ferrari. I don't feel I have the right to demand it of my neighbors. The Wall Street occupiers have no qualms about making demands of their neighbors.
The occupiers also feel that the wealthiest 1 percent make too much money. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Wall Street occupiers and the tea party. We in the tea party look at that wealthy 1 percent and ask ourselves, how can I become part of that 1 percent, while the occupiers ask themselves how they can get some of the money that 1 percent has already made? They don't want to improve themselves, they want to take what's not theirs. It illustrates the biggest differences in our characters.
There are areas of agreement, however. We both loathe corporate bailouts. Maybe that's a good place to start. Maybe we can join together and remove the politicians who support corporate bailouts and go from there. The protesters also claim they want jobs. Well, believe me, nobody wants those kids to have jobs more than us, since most of the tea party members are gainfully employed and are paying the unemployment checks these kids are collecting. We're fighting the current administration, which we feel is not creating an atmosphere that encourages hiring. We're doing our best. It would be great to believe that these kids are doing their best to find jobs, but that's a little difficult to believe when I see them sitting on their butts in their little camps. Maybe that's something that makes Ms. Detwiler proud, but it makes me shake my head.
Fred Pasek, FrederickCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun