Paul A. Ibbetson
The "Occupy" groups shield Obama
By Paul A. Ibbetson
October 14, 2011

In recent days there have been a number of groups popping up across the nation going by the moniker "Occupy." Whether it is Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Kansas City in Kansas, these protest groups claim that they represent the majority of U.S. citizens. They are worthy of examination and analysis for their motives.

At a cursory first glance, many of the Occupy groups present nominal Tea Party-like characteristics, such as having members who reject the Federal Reserve, speak about the value of the Constitution, and present a general citizen's concern for the future of the country. However, that is about the extent of any observable similarities. The differences are many. While a majority of the Tea Party organization tends to come from the working class, and seniors, the Occupy groups are mostly comprised of younger, often college age individuals.

Even more drastic differences between these two groups can be seen in the ideological viewpoints that motivate their activism and the physical ways in which they voice their concerns. The Tea Party groups in America meet in private or public areas and strictly follow the ordinances of city and state. The Occupy groups as defined by their very title of "Occupy" invade "spaces" whether those spaces are city parks or other locales and hold these spaces "hostage" for extended periods of time until their differing demands are met. What demands do these "Occupiers" have? They differ from Occupy invasion point to invasion point but, commonly their demands reflect a disdain for corporate America and the free market, environmental concerns, and a general desire for more of their version of tolerance and compassion on the planet.

The Tea Party events are void of such a hostage standoff element; however, Tea Party attendees of course have their demands as well. They wish for limited government, personal freedom, controlled spending, and an adherence to the Constitution. The Occupy groups are getting noticed as much for their bodily stink as their demands. They refuse to stop occupying public areas of towns across the country until their need for revenge against rich Americans can be satiated. Tea Party events, on the other hand, end within a few hours, and the attendees then try to make their changes at the ballot box. Theirs is a much more peaceful and certainly a less stinky approach to protest and activism.

Tea Party events are ideologically conservative, and their attendees place an emphasis on American patriotism and the individual's right to freedom. These citizens place strong emphasis on personal responsibility to make government accountable. The Occupy groups want government to increase entitlements and of course curb greedy corporate Americans to give them what they want. President Barack Obama's campaign to make rich Americans "pay their fair share" in taxes is ideologically very much in step with the Occupy groups. Indeed, many would say, a little too closely in step.

There is little doubt that if the Occupy groups can build momentum, their mantra about the dangers of free market greed is one that will eventually divert the country's attention away from its economic woes being considered a product of government intervention. In other words, the Occupy groups with their quasi-violent- space-seizing-no-shower-necessary protest activities are potentially a big help to Obama. The President needs public scrutiny of his economic policies to be diverted elsewhere, indeed anywhere but at him. Will the Occupy groups accomplish their goal? Time will tell. One thing is for sure; however, there is little similarity between the Tea Party and the Occupy groups and their end goals behind protesting are very different and very distinct. The Tea Party protests highlight the actions of the Obama administration while the Occupy groups' intent is to shield the President from any and all accountability for his policies.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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