While there has been some violence associated with Occupy Walls Street (OWS) demonstrations ("Occupy Maui Should Adhere to Nonviolence" commentary in Feb. 23-29 issue of the Maui Weekly), the movement is expressly nonviolent and has never advocated violence. Highlighting one or two isolated incidents of violence out of the several hundreds of OWS events across the world obfuscates the truth. The thousands of arrests and millions of dollars spent to curtail the OWS movement is the price those in power pay to keep power.
The author of the commentary claims the Tea Party movement seeks "a return to constitutional government." Why, then, are they so committed to changing the Constitution through various amendments? From limiting civil liberties through a "defining marriage"-type amendment to dictating monetary policy with a balanced budget amendment, the Tea Party seeks to alter the Constitution in ways unprecedented in recent history.
Finally, the author claims OWS and the Tea Party have "surprisingly much in common." The Tea Party is a top-down organization funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, forwarding a conservative platform by endorsing candidates in various elections around the country. OWS is grassroots--no leaders, no national organization, no talking heads, no interest in electoral politics. The movement's disparate nature makes defining its objectives difficult, and some may argue such definitions are unnecessary. I will not attempt to do that here. However, labeling the group violent and anti-American is, at the very least, unreasonable.