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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tea Partier And The Occupier

A member of the Mid-South Tea Party asks a question during a meeting where two Occupy Memphis members were speaking, Thursday in Bartlett, Tenn. (AP)

There was an unusual meeting last week in Tennessee. A group of tea party activists met with Occupy Wall Street protesters. Yes, there was an occasional clash of opinions, but a real discussion broke out too.

Jim Tomasik is one of the organizers of the Mid-South Tea Party and his group invited members of Occupy Memphis to meet with his group after an online discussion started and Mallory Pope is a university student and member of Occupy Memphis. Here’s what they had to say about the two movements.

On Commonalities Between Tea Partiers And Occupiers

  • Tomasik: “I really do like the point that… the voice of the people is being lost by special interest groups. [But Occupiers are] taking their fight to the wrong place in that they’re going after banks and people on Wall Street when they should be going after the government that allows things to happen.”
  • Pope: There’s some agreement when it comes to “crony capitalism and bank bailouts. They obviously don’t want bank bailouts because that’s just another government expenditure as well as I’ve heard many conservatives… say that’s not letting free markets be free, that is picking winners and losers.”
  • Tomasik:“Absolutely, when you start picking winners and loser you penalize people who do things correctly, who do things right.”

On Tea Party Concerns That The Communist Flag Was Flown By Occupy Protesters

  • Jim Tomasik: The woman who came up with the idea to invite Occupy Memphis people is Lynn Moss. “Her father was killed in Vietnam..We have some memories of people lost… and they were fighting against people waving that same flag.”
  • Mallory Pope: “My husband is a veteran, I’m a military spouse– we’re active duty– so we’re very patriotic. And [the communist flag] is a bit of a conflict within Occupy Memphis. I love the American flag, I’d rather wave that than any other as well. It’s a conflict we’re trying to work on.”


  • Jim Tomasik, organizer of the Mid-South Tea Party
  • Mallory Pope, university student,member of Occupy Memphis

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