Have you heard about the "Coffee Party" movement? It's a new and super hip group founded by an equally hip documentary filmmaker, Annabel Park. It's kind of a misnomer to call it a "movement," since so far it's only a Facebook page and a handful of 6-person meetings. But if you read the New York Times or the Washington Post (who ran a 1,700 word piece^ on it!) you'd think this is a group growing by the thousands nationwide, with plans to overthrow the Tea Party agenda altogether!
One problem is that the Tea Party movement doesn't exactly have an agenda, despite what MSNBC, et al. would have you believe. The grassroots groups loosely organized under titles like "Tea Party Patriots" simply believe in a number of principles: limited government, economic stability based on fiscal responsibility, the American Dream, supporting small business ventures, etc. But there have so far been no agreements on specific steps to take in order to restore those principles in our current situation.
So why does the Coffee Party's founder/chief organizer, Park, write things like this on twitter*: "we need to re-engage the grassroots movement that got Obama elected. we need to get busy. cannot give it away to teabaggers?"
First of all, it doesn't need to be said that the teabagger term is completely offensive. I do NOT think people who use it are ignorant of its meaning, and their continued insistence on using it to describe the Tea Party members is not only juvenile but obstinate. Secondly, what is being "given away" to the Tea Partiers? Is there a monopoly on grassroots political movements? Perhaps Ms. Park thinks - like many other liberals do - that only liberals can/are allowed to be passionate about politics and compassionate toward particular groups of people?
This is actually a common phenomena; an issue comes to light and the liberal response is, "We care, republicans don't." Take poverty in America for example. A typical liberal reaction is, "We care so much about poor people! We want them to be better off! It's not their fault they're poor. We have to revamp welfare to include more people. And by the way, those filthy republicans only care about money for themselves so obviously they don't care about the poor." And so welfare gets expanded and liberals get to feel good about themselves for being so compassionate.
The reality is, welfare does not help poor people; it almost promotes a lifestyle of dependence on the government because it offers nothing in the way of encouragement to find a job. And if, at the same time, liberals in Congress are preventing jobs from being created (because they've bankrupt our economy with programs like welfare), then there will be less chances people can get off of it upon landing a job. You can't get hired if there's nothing to be hired for.
Yet the popular opinion is still that democrats/liberals care about the poor, minorities and children, and republicans/conservatives don't, the reason being that they love money so much that it blinds them from seeing other peoples' needs.
Well, I fall in the latter of those political camps and I can tell you why I don't support welfare: I think more of people than that. I think people can succeed, if given some basic tools to do so. Like, job counseling for example. Or grants to go to technical college** so that they can actually land a needed job, one that is somewhat recession-proof (like basic needs people have: plumbing, carpentry, electrical, sewer and of course cable tv - hee hee). And the best tool that can be given to a job seeker, especially in an economy like this one, is encouragement to keep trying, keep applying. I believe in every single citizen's ability to "make something" of themselves.
So what does this have to do with the "Coffee Party" group? It's just another instance of liberals trying to mimic a sincerely felt passion for an issue (in this case, limited government) with a reactionary, cleverly titled (to them, at least) spin off group. They are trying to co-opt the Tea Party and "modernize" or perhaps "youthanize" (ha) it so that it appeals to a younger crowd. I guess they think that the Tea Party picked "tea" for the literal reference? Like, old people drink tea and young people drink coffee? I guess Annabel Park didn't catch that the Tea Party associates itself with - DUH - the Boston Tea Party? Whereas the "Coffee Party" has, for me at least, a reference to those elitist pseudo-intellectuals who sit around an "dialogue" in coffeehouses.
But I don't think I'm too far off in making that connection, since it's basically what Park has said she hopes will happen with the Coffee Party, as quoted here from the Washington Post article: "let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion."
Yup, because there has been no "real" political dialogue at any of the tea party rallies. Park just can't seem to keep the superiority out of her tone. Yet, her "movement" sounds a lot less like a strong brew and more like extra foam.
^If you are really itching to read the WaPo piece, you can find it here. Ugh.
*Does anyone else find it annoying that twitter publishes without capitalizing anything? I guess the idea is, "What I'm writing is so important that I couldn't be bothered to capitalize" or something. But then, why include punctuation? Those hipsters over at twitter confuse and irk me.
**And not scholarships to liberal arts colleges (which liberals, including Pres. Obama, love to promote), which train people to be liberals and not for any real career! Which, of course, is precisely why they want kids to go to them over other kinds of schools (tech, private, seminary, etc.).