Monday, March 15, 2010

Tea Party, Coffee Party -- Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Things have come to a pretty pass
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that,
Goodness knows what the end will be
Oh I don't know where I'm at
It looks as if we two will never be one
Something must be done

 (from Let's Call the Whole Thing Off by George & Ira Gershwin)

If the Tea Party is a conservative element seeking to pull the Repubs (more) to the right, what's your guess as to the role the Coffee Party wants to play? Is it MoveOn in disguise? Maybe.... Whatever it is, the notion of rallying people around an agenda of civil discourse makes me a little wary, not because I think screaming and yelling is a productive mode of social dialogue, but because it seems to me it's more like using a silver spoon where a backhoe would do just as well. Is it really ok to destroy the country with a smile on your face and a "so sorry" on your lips?

And isn't this the basis of the independent movement in the first place? We need innovative solutions to very serious problems we're facing, and those solutions are not coming from the two major parties, no matter how polite or nasty they might be. You can't turn a corrupt partisan special-interest driven political culture into something it's not, no matter how carefully you chose your words. That's why 40% of the American people are independent. Politely or rowdily, we're leaving. Here's to an irreverent independent movement for all voices who want to help move the country forward.
  • Tea Party Avoids Divisive Social Issues (By KATE ZERNIKE, NY Times)
  • Move over tea party, here comes coffee (By BRIAN MCNEILL, Charlottesville VA Daily Progress) “The tea party is fine, except they’re kind of radical about stuff,” Dick Wilz, a Louisa resident, said at the Barracks Road Shopping Center coffee shop. “This is about civility.”
  • Coffee Party; grass roots movement brewing nationwide (KTNV Las Vegas) "Their agenda is to restore respect, accessibility and civility to the process. It's not demean or put fear," said Sandra Myer, a Coffee Party follower.
  • Coffee or tea? Naples group holds first meeting for political dialogue (By CATHERINE HOWDEN, Naples News) In addition to his involvement with the Coffee Party, Burkett plans to run for the U.S. Senate this year as a “strategic” Democrat who describes himself as a “conservative independent hawk.”
  • 'Coffee party' movement: Not far from the 'tea party' message? - The coffee party movement held its political kickoff Saturday at 370 locations across the US. At one Georgia meeting, the message didn't seem that different from the rival 'tea party' message. (By Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor) While asserting to be independent, coffee party activists tend to back President Obama and want “obstructionists” in Congress and the media to get out of his way. To attendees like Mr. Landers, the tea party, though demanding a return to American representative ideals, seems co-opted by social conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and even Ralph Reed (though tea-partyers see themselves as stressing fiscal and size-of-government issues).  NOTE: Salit's Opinion: Tea party activists: Don't confuse them with independents is linked as a related article here
  • Sacramentans plan political 'coffee party' (By Anna Tong, Sac Bee) Castro, a registered independent voter, said he will encourage people at today's gathering to discuss politics in a respectful manner. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to mobilize like the tea party has. "I would like to see us develop a platform based on issues and not on any agenda that would be categorized as left or right," Castro said. "I would also like to see us possibly support candidates."


d.eris said...

Hey Nancy, I just wrote up a post last week on one independent Coffee Party activist who makes the case that independents should become involved in the group. Thought you might find it interesting.

Nancy Hanks said...

Yes, thanks Damon -- your post helped me articulate my response to this new group.