I’ve been following the Occupy Whatever protests across the country so far with a mix of amusement, sadness, and annoyance. I don’t dismiss these people as meaningless, because they can–and are starting to–cause a lot of damage; but it’s also hard to take a group seriously who condemns corporate greed while simultaneously posting on Facebook from their iPads.

As of last week, my only experience with this crowd had been watching the silliness of it all on various Internet sites. Then I drove to Washington D.C. that Saturday morning with my wife and two boys (six and three), hoping to enjoy a day at the museums, especially the Air and Space Museum. You already know where this is going, right? Sure enough, when we got there, we were greeted not with other happy tourists, but with, well, this:

They shut down the Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space Museum! Not some eeeeevil bank, but a free museum where families visit to learn and celebrate the history of flight. But because of the protesters, no one was allowed in or out for much of the day. People were locked inside with their children, some surely afraid of what might be happening beyond those walls that was preventing them from being allowed to leave.

After a while of my boys (who are ALL boy and then some) restlessly running back and forth and into each other, we had waited enough and decided to find something else (and not nearly as cool) to do.

I’ve been to many a Tea Party rally and protest, but never one of the Left. I learned that Saturday of the wisdom of that choice. The contrast between their protests and ours couldn’t be more stark. The Tea Party is peaceful and respectful; the Occupy bunch is violent, attacks police officers, and gets arrested en masse. The Tea Party cleans up after itself, leaving areas looking better than before they had arrived; the Occupy bunch defecates on police cars. The Tea Party sings patriotic songs and reveres the American flag; the Occupy bunch flaunts the hammer and sickle*:

The Tea Party may have a few odd and even bad characters, but that is not the core of who we are. We would never be so selfish as to shut down a museum and ruin family vacations to make a point (especially one half of us don’t even understand). We get our permits, we show up, we pray, we sing, we honor the flag and each other, we clean up, and we leave. Our overriding goal is to build up the structure of this nation; the Occupy Crowd’s overriding goal is to tear it down.

What a contrast.

*I did the best I could while walking and taking this picture without drawing attention, so I apologize for the sketchy quality. In case you can’t read the caption, it’s “Dark Army.” Spooky, huh?

Cross-posted at redstatevirginia.com