Occupy protesters and Tea Partiers are engaging in intense conversations and finding common ground, even if their basic philosophies clash, the Washington Post reports. Both despise corporate bailouts and the political influence of big money; both are struggling to get by. In one crossing of the aisle, a machinist and Tea Party member recently visited an Occupy Allentown demonstration, and was surprised by what he saw. “They didn’t stink, and they weren’t on drugs,” he said. “I could see me being them, 30 years ago.”
One Minneapolis libertarian, saddened by the Tea Party's "religious" turn, posted an online letter seeking to join Occupy: "I sympathize with your cause and agree on our common enemy,” she wrote; the letter went viral. But one popular Occupy DC protester, Tobacco Thom, sees differences when he engages Tea Party types: They want tax cuts and reduced spending, while Occupiers prefer a strong government hand in fixing the economy. Still, Thom says, it's a worthwhile conversation: "We would love to be an example of what Congress should be doing—negotiate and find a middle ground."