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Ideological differences skew perspective

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

I'm right, you're wrong. I win.

-- Gary Glitter

Further proof that our take on things is all about perspective, skewed though it sometimes may be:

I was talking with a guy I know over the holidays about the end of 2011 and the challenges we face as a community, as a state, as a nation, even as a race of people, in 2012. He's a big tea party supporter, so obviously his take on things slants precariously to the right.

(I've kidded the dude before by noting that his politics reminds me a lot of some of the world's most notable leaders ... and he seemed quite pleased until I told him the folks I was referring to were leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Attila the Hun and David Dukes. He didn't think that was all that funny, but we got past it. We have one of those give-as-well-as-you-get kind of relationships.)

I asked him what he thought of the Occupy Wall Street movement that had caught hold and spread throughout America in 2011, and I have to admit I was taken aback by his comments.

"Those people are nothing but trouble-makers, wasting the time of law enforcement personnel with their idiotic protests," was his response. "The police should just come in and haul them off to jail, let them spend a little time with the other criminals."

I'm pretty sure I detected a gleam in his eye when he added that he wouldn't be upset if police "cracked a few heads" while making arrests.

When I mentioned that his beloved tea party had also taken to the streets during 2011 and that, indeed, he personally had gotten involved in a couple of local tea party campaigns, he didn't see a connection.

"We were trying to make this country better, to get our elected leaders to return their focus to the things that made this country great," he said. "Those wannabe hippies are just out in the street causing a commotion."

When I pointed out that the Occupy movement was, as well as I could understand it, a protest against the way government had allowed Wall Street and Big Banking to manipulate our economic structure to suit their own greedy agendas at the expense of working-class Americans, he refused to see it that way.

"These people have no right to be doing what they're doing," he said.

I mumbled the trite "agree to disagree" fallback when it was obvious we were worlds apart on the issue. I'm not exactly adept at coming up with just the right quick response off the top of my head.

But as I thought about what my sometimes sparring partner had uttered, it occurred to me that the history of this country provided all the evidence I needed to proclaim that his argument is so skewed it borders on treason.

No right to do what they're doing? If American citizens did not demand the right to question and even overthrow oppressive authority, we'd still be sipping tea in the afternoons and calling our elevators "lifts," our car trunks "boots," our restrooms "loos" and our apartments "flats." And while there would be no Congress, a plus, there would be a Parliament, whose members would wear those funny-looking wigs.

And we'd be dropping our H's and singing "God Save the Queen" before watching cricket matches.

Sheesh!

No right to protest? I wonder if African Americans, who would still be considered second-class citizens and denied basic rights had they not taken to the streets, would agree. Or if our soldiers would have remained in Vietnam even longer and lost even more lives if young America hadn't engaged in the anti-war protests of the 1960s.

Sadly, too many of us -- on either side of an issue -- denigrate the efforts of others whose ideology differs from our own ... even if what the other side is doing is pretty much the same damned thing. Such hypocrisy would be comical if it weren't so sad.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcheralbanyherald.com.

Comments

Russ 2 years, 6 months ago

The comparison between OWS and the Tea Party begins and ends in that both are protest movements. When Tea Partiers start fouling public places with their trash and tent-cities, openly consuming illegal drugs while protesting, and defecating on police vehicles, I guess that would come close to "pretty much the same damned thing". Sheesh, indeed.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope that was a typo....your second sentence should read, "...OWS started fouling public places..." It was not the TEA Partiers doing those things.

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Citizen_A 2 years, 6 months ago

You didn't get the context of what "Russ" was saying...he was saying that IF the Tea Party were to do those things, THEN it could be considered "pretty much the same damned thing"....

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ghostofkarelia 2 years, 6 months ago

You're right. Living in tents and "fouling public places" is way, WAY worse than holding our country hostage during the debt ceiling fiasco.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 6 months ago

Let me guess...you also believe that some TEA partiers spat on those Congressmen, too, huh?

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 6 months ago

Even a professed liberal (who leans "precariously" to the left) such as yourself should admit that there is a world of difference between the ACTIONS of the TEA party and the OWS "protesters." Do they both want change and improvement? I think so. Did TEA destroy property, defacate on police cars, cost cities hundreds of thousands of dollars, rape and pillage? NO. Did OWS? Absolutely, positively, YES! Ideology is one thing, but, actions speak louder than words.

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1d2ec 2 years, 6 months ago

If I understand the situation, the difference with theTea Party and Occupy Wall Street is that the Tea Party didn't require the clean up and police that Occupy wall Street required. The Tea Party seemed to have better order and organization.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 6 months ago

The TEA partiers also obtained necessary permits and paid for their own clean-up. OWS did not.

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LuLu 2 years, 6 months ago

No TEA party groups have ever paid for clean-up after any of their rallies -- because it's not necessary! TEA partiers are good, clean, thoughtful and considerate people who don't leave trash or filth in their wake!

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree with the commenters here. The OWS folks held those around them hostage while they lived there in their tent cities that disrupted hard-working businesses around them and forced the NYPD to direct their attention to them rather than protecting its citizens. The way the TPs protested was the right way--the OWS just looked like the late 60s all over again. The OWS message (when they finally figured it out) was okay, but the way they protested made people like me dismiss their message. Get a job, clean yourself up, get off the bong, and learn to embrace our capitalist society. If you can't do that, Europe is ready and waiting for you.

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gotanyfacts 2 years, 6 months ago

It appears that Carlton's "thinking spring" has wound down. During the thitrties, in New York, it was common for charitable groups to ask store owners for contributions. It was also common for the mafia to "request" contributions. Apparently Carlton would not see a difference between these actions. He is correct in saying ideology can skew one's perspective and he is evidence to the fact that it can even blind one's vision!

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justme 2 years, 6 months ago

The Tea Party People are a bunch of CHUMPS as are the OWS.
Why do I say that ? Well, I'm sure the majorty of you posting are employed and all that are retired haven't recently returned from a getaway trip around the world. All concerned should quit crying with that pork chop in your mouth, and consider this. How in the world can we continue to fight among ourselves as we continue to pay the 1% for the pork they are giving us..........

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Well please explain how you unemployed check getters are paying anything to the 1%?…Seriously!!!! Do you really believe that “Free Money “ check you get every month is a miracle from the Government ? The TRUTH is “Everything the Government gives you was Taking from someone else” By the way my pork chop taste a lot better than yours cause I know I bought it with my own hard earned dollar and did not pay for it by stealing from others….Oops I mean with a government check. Chumps like you can’t see the difference between law abiding protest by TP people who want to save more of the money they have worked for and the OWS who show no respect for the Law or police while demanding they get their “Fair Share” of someone else’s money.

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justme 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey homes check this out. If you own your own business or you work for somebody and you pay taxes you fall in the mix. Repud.,Dem.,,Tea,Ows etc. etc. now all these chumps pay taxes and the govt. pays out the cash to those in line that placed the govt. in office. Then all the change that falls to the floor, like you said "FreeMoney" goes to who ever is low enough to scrape it up. So you see my friend any way you look at it the 1% gets theirs and all we get is a PORK CHOP..............

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 6 months ago

Your anger is misguided. The problem is not the "1%", it's the 50% who pay no ($0) income taxes. The problem is not the retirees who worked hard all of their lives to afford the "gateway trips", it's the entitlement crowd who has their housing, healthcare and food given to them for sitting around being sorry. And that transcends racial lines.

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whodat 2 years, 6 months ago

All of you who have posted thus far have chosen to focus on the fringe elements of OWS and ignore the real reason for the protests. The OWS grew out of frustration with the role Wall Street has played in (1) tanking the economy in 2008 and (2) influencing the government to favor their unethical activities. All of you are in the 99%-- none of you are millionaires or billionaires and yet you champion the 1% and their out-of-control greed to become even richer, while you become poorer. In your anti-socialist mind, you confuse corporatism with capitalism. Telling the OWS protestors to “get a job” is the mother of all asinine comments: the jobs aren’t there—that is what they are protesting. They want to work but businesses aren’t hiring because they can’t get loans because the big banks (who have made record profits this year and who have handed out record bonuses), refuse to make loans. Do your homework---find out why. Oh, and don’t just listen to Rush and the clowns on Fox. They’re part of the 1%. Here's a good place to start: http://www.inc.com/constantine-von-hoffman/how-the-fed-lied-about-loans-to-big-banks_1.html

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Jobs aren’t there!… Farmers in Georgia lost millions this year due to lack of a labor force. Now which one is the truth and while one is a perception? Didn’t you mean to say the great pay for little work jobs aren’t there. A Good example was the OWS protester interviewed under McDonald’s “NOW Hiring” sign who told the report heck no I am not working for minimum wages.

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Albanite 2 years, 6 months ago

The TEA Party stands for reducing taxes, reducing wasteful government spending, eliminating corruption and fiscal responsibility. They are effective, conservative and express themselves with their vote. OWS has no goal, other than causing trouble, defecating on police cars, breaking laws, creating filth and trash everywhere they went, and otherwise offered no substance, no solutions, and no organizational objective of any kind. The two groups have nothing in common.

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whattheheck 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think most would have any concern with a peaceful "protest". But when the "protest" is essentially a "take over" of public and private property by intimidation or moves to shut down an entire seaport, et al, this is beyond the bounds of a simple "protest". To compare the tea party to a group like Occupy is well beyond shallow--it is essentially prima facie evidence of weakness in the head.

It took a period of time for Occupy after occupying to decide what it was all about and even now it has no clear objective other than wanting something for nothing--like those who borrowed and now want student loans forgiven. Rather than a group with a valid purpose, as with the tea party, Occupy is more like a group of wannabee thugs and reminds one of the communist activities around the time of WW I.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 6 months ago

They were on the news every night for a while. Anyone seen anything about them lately? It got too cold I guess. I'm sure they'll be back in the spring to annoy us all and to drum up support for the Annointed One as he tries to choke us all with a second term.

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