Heading their “99 percent declaration” is the demand for a ban on political contributions by individuals and political speech by associations and groups, including companies and unions.
Such a change would leave us less free and show a woeful contempt for the First Amendment. As the Supreme Court rightly found in the Citizens United case, this is about the right to engage in free speech, particularly political speech, and the right to freely associate. The Court rejected the idea that the government can decide who gets to speak, and ban some from speaking at all, particularly those speak through associations of members who share their beliefs. This is about one of the fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights.
The Occupiers decry bailouts, but they seem to reject them only for companies and industries they don’t like. Their grab-bag of special interests looks like Mr. Obama’s, including a special exemption for any corporation that claims to be “green.” Meanwhile they want to give authoritarian powers to the Environmental Protection Agency “to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment.”
The list of baddies is long, and recognizable: the pharmaceutical industry, “corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit,” the “fossil fuel industry.” Sound familiar?
The Tea Party represents (and respects) America. The Occupiers may be well intended, but their demands would be very different from what the Founding Fathers gave us and would dramatically change America.
Any comparisons between the Tea Party, which desires to liberate “We the People” from big government, and the Wall Street Occupiers, who want more government regulation, is either misguided or made to intentionally confuse Americans.
Billie Tucker is co-founder of the First Coast Tea Party.