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Scott Hennen, Published October 29 2011

Not every movement is authentic

A popular narrative is that our politics have turned toxic. It’s even caused my Forum Face Off opponent a crisis in conscience. I’m here to help.

Let’s acknowledge what history has shown us: It’s been a lot worse. Take the tumultuous election of 1800, for example. Long-standing personal and political bitterness between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans culminated in the murder of Alexander Hamilton – one of our Founding Fathers. Rather than succumb to violence, we’re channeling our frustration in politics within activist movements. Problem is, one is authentic – and values the principles of freedom and liberty – while the other is nothing but a destructive cult seeking the collapse of the American way of life.

It’s important to understand the distinction.

I’m proud to call myself a “tea partyer.” I even wrote a book, “Grassroots,” that chronicles the stories, struggles and triumphs of the tea party movement. Any attempt to compare these patriots to the cabal of lawless bandits in the Occupy Wall Street movement is absurd. The differences are unmistakable:

The media want you to believe the OWS rallies represent a populist movement. Populist, maybe. In 1900s Leningrad. I don’t consider Communist and Marxist demagogues urging the mob to “follow the red flag” an expression of mainstream opinion. Nor do I believe that most Americans would use violence to advance their agenda – which nearly a third of OWS protesters in New York support, according to a survey conducted by a Democratic polling firm.

So here’s my challenge to Linda and all Americans of a center-left viewpoint: Don’t let these radicals speak for you. Denounce their views. Let’s begin a conversation about how to get our economy growing again.

Our politics are broken because America is broke. President Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil or President Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had advantages in previous efforts to find rational solutions. They had resources to bargain with. Until we get our economy growing, the stalemate will continue. Democrats took control of Congress after the November 2006 election and were joined by President Barack Obama in 2008. How’s that worked so far?

Democrats continue to double down with failed solutions. It’s time to reject these policies and denounce the professional protesters in the ranks of OWS. Then let those of us – left and right – who want American greatness restored begin a conversation about what history has proved will grow our economy.

Will you join me in this effort?

Hennen, Fargo, is chairman of the Common Sense/Scott Hennen (radio) Show and president of Freedom Force Communications.