350 Coffee Parties Bring a Change in Flavor
Thousands of Americans turned out today for the launch of the Coffee Party, a political movement whose goal is to facilitate a more responsive dialogue between people on how to move the country forward. It was held in over 350 locations and has could potentially reignite the movement for change and reform that was so pivotal over the last two election cycles.
What is the Coffee Party movement? According to the mission on their website:
The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize 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 that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.
The first Coffee Party Day had folks meet up in coffee shops across the nation. The large groups then broke down into small discussion groups. Issues that they found important were discussed, such as the economy, health care, jobs, and immigration. One man was quoted, “We may disagree, but we must not be disagreeable.”
In a sharp contrast to the Tea Party movement, members are asked to take the following civility pledge:
As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.
The Coffee Party appears to be gathering steam quickly. The website has received hundreds of thousands of page views. A page on Facebook was started last month, and has exploded to nearly 150,000 fans.
The Guardian reports about an expanded mission statement taken from the Facebook page:
Anyone who wants our government to function in the interest of ordinary Americans, not corporations, is welcome to join this movement. We believe that the majority of Americans are regular folks like us, and some of us have been misled into thinking that the federal government is the cause of our struggles, our anxiety and our fear. In short, our government has been presented to us as our enemy.
Annabel Park, the movements founder responded to a question on NPR about the historical precedent and context: “After they dumped tea into [Boston] Harbor, the Continental Congress declared coffee to be the national drink, and that became the solution to the problem. So we associate coffee with both solutions and working very hard for representation.”
On CNN’s American Morning, Park expanded on the goals of the movement.
“Just like in the American Revolution, we are looking for real representation right now. We don’t feel represented by our government right now, and we don’t really feel represented well by the media either,. It’s kind of a simple call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation,” she said. “And it requires people standing up and speaking up.”
For those unable to attend the meet and greet in person today, there was an alternative. A virtual coffee shop meeting was held today at 4:00 pm Central Time. However, registration was suspended due to an overwhelming response, and even those who got in weren’t able to stay for long because the system crashed due to the huge chat load.
350 meetings were held across the country, and there are hundreds more planned on March 27th.
This grassroots movement has gathered some attention in the media as well. There have been some creative headlines:
Meet the people who are percolating in the Coffee Party CNN
Coffee vs. Tea: A political movement is brewing CNN
Coffee Party Founder Wants Common Grounds NPR
Something Is Brewing Across America Today: The Coffee Party is Percolating Huffington Post
Coffee Party starts brewing The Guardian
Will the Coffee Party lose it’s steam or keep brewing a discussion on how we can move forward as a nation? Only time will tell.
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