Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Coffee, Tea, Or?

Now, I know that the Tea Party movement is the creation of some cynical bastards anxious to purify the Republican Party, but the fact is it worked. There's a lot of free floating angst and some definite anger that has been visited on a great number of Americans during this time of economic turmoil. While many have lost their jobs and their homes, they have seen the agents who caused the turmoil keep their jobs and be rewarded with huge bonuses paid for to a large extent by government bail-out money. That they would respond to the offering of scapegoats should come as no surprise.

But I must admit that I was surprised by the latest response to all that anxiety and anger, the Coffee Party.

From the NY Times:

Fed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party, people in cities across the country are offering an alternative: the Coffee Party.

Growing through a Facebook page, the party pledges to “support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.”

It had nearly 40,000 members as of Monday afternoon, but the numbers were growing quickly — about 11,000 people had signed on as fans since the morning. ...

The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”
[Emphasis added]

The creator of the Coffee Party is Annabel Park, a documentary filmmaker. Although she admits the Coffee Party is at least partially a reaction to the Tea Party, she suggests that it is more. She also acknowledges that the two movements actually share some concerns, primarily that of a desire for fiscal responsibility and a frustration with Congress. That said, Ms. Park has what I consider to be a much healthier approach to citizen activism:

he Tea Party argues for stripping the federal government of many of its roles, and that if government has to be involved, it should be mostly state governments.

“The way I see it,” Ms. Park said, “our government is diseased, but you don’t abandon it because it’s ill. It’s the only body we have to address collective problems. You can’t bound government according to state borders when companies don’t do that, air doesn’t. It just doesn’t fit with the world.”

I think it reasonably certain that the mainstream media will not give the Coffee Party the loving attention it has given the Tea Party. Coffee Partiers look to be far more moderate and far less crazy, and there isn't much news in that. Still, if some of those Coffee Parties succeed in energizing a segment of the population enough to throw a little fear into obstructionists in Congress, thereby getting the attention of the world's most influential country club, we might get some real change. We might see election turnout rise above the deplorable 35-40%. We might see local congressional offices inundated with phone calls, faxes, and emails. We might actually see a participatory democracy.

And that wouldn't be so bad.

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Blogger PurpleGirl said...

The Coffee Party idea looks interesting.

Another idea is the Union for Unemployed workers. Here's an article on it at Alternet:


The Union's website:


5:39 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for the link, Purple Girl.

For some reason I failed to include the link for the Coffee Party.

10:07 AM  

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