Coffee and Tea

March 14th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

I’ve always been a tea drinker, myself.  Just never liked the taste of coffee.  Which for me makes it doubly ironic in a way that the new grassroots group to spring up from the ground has decided to call itself the “Coffee Party” in a reaction against the Tea Partiers.

The movement was founded by a woman named Annabel Park, whom you can see here as she explains how she just got fed up with “listening to news coverage that made it seem like the Tea Party was representative of America.”  She claims that she started complaining about this on her facebook page, and just started getting “instant feedback… from other people who agreed with [her] (thus painting the Coffee Party as a grassroots movement).”

They bill themselves as an alternative to the Tea Party movement, and they want to see “cooperation among people in Congress and in government… instead of strategically obstructing any form of progress (BAD Republicans!).”  They object to “obstructionism and extreme political tactics (like peaceful protests?) which are fear-based… and in many ways, just deliberate misinformation (so, we’re NOT really taxing and spending ourselves into oblivion?  That’s news to me).”  They’re going to “hold people accountable for obstructing progress in government,” and they want people to understand that the only way government can function is “as an expression of our collective will (irony moment, has anyone else noticed that the initials of the movement are CPUSA?  The Soviet government was supposed to be an expression of the will of the masses, too).”

They “have a collection of people who value diversity, and are really diverse (another hit at the evil, racist Tea Partiers)… and [they] are completely comfortable with the changing demographics of [their] country.”  They think that it’s “human nature for people to be nervous about changes in their neighborhoods (what is this, 1964?)… but that it’s not something that should be encouraged.  Certainly it should not be an opportunity for political gain (unfortunately she was probably not talking about Harry Reid).”  She calls for cooperation, pointing out that “if you have people out to obstruct even dialog, then we can’t have a functioning government (the left certainly ought to know).”

She finally ends with “If you don’t believe that the government has any role, then yeah, you should join the Tea Party….but there are many of us who believe that we have to have the government addressing these things, representing our interests….  We need [government] to get to work, instead of fighting.  And we need people to get out of the way (emphasis mine).”

Yep, that’s the voice of a genuine grassroots movement: We the People need to get out of the way.

Of course, what Annabel didn’t say in her video was that before the election, she was busy making videos for the Obama campaign.  This, in itself, is not a crime; I’m sure there are plenty of people in the Tea Parties who voted for Obama (myself included) who now regret it, or at least wish they’d had someone else to vote for besides McCain/Palin.  What is rather ironic though, is that although Annabel touts the Coffee Party as having lots in common with the Tea Party, such as fiscal conservatism (though how they think they’ll pull that off while calling for government-funded universal health care, I’ve no idea), she is also on the record as saying that they “need to re-engage the grassroots movement that got Obama elected…. We cannot give it away to teabaggers,” and that “we’re in mortal danger of moving backwards in November (emphasis mine).”

As for the actual talking points of the Coffee Party, well the various Coffee Parties were supposed to get together in coffee houses across the country yesterday and make up signs about what they wanted government to do.  Here’s a fairly representative sample:

  • There are a lot of signs asking for “Coffee and Civility,” “Coffee and Civil Discourse,” and “Coffee and Cooperation” of which these are fairly representative.  Yes, because there have been so many arrests and reports of violence with the Tea Party protests.
  • This one calls for a “green economy.”  Apparently the kid didn’t get the memo about how well that’s working out in Spain right now.
  • Here’s one about “education reform.”  I want education reform too, but somehow I doubt these people will be looking to institute vouchers or loosen the Federal grip on our schools.
  • Here’s a sign asking for limits on media ownership (especially those evil Fox News people).
  • Here’s another one criticizing the Supreme Court ruling on political speech.
  • This one wants “Coffee and Sustainable Agriculture.”  Then again, he’s probably never been informed that organic farming methods cause significant crop yield loss, that organic food is more likely to be responsible for e. coli outbreaks than non-organic food, or that Norman Borlaug, who singlehandedly saved a billion lives through his agricultural research, once pointed out that if all farming were organic one-third of the world population would starve to death in short order.
  • This one wants health care and “military funding” reform.  I don’t even know what that last bit means.
  • Here’s another about “health care.”  Again, like education reform I would also like health care reform, but I sincerely doubt that these people want to phase out Medicare or lift restrictions on insurance companies competing across state lines.
  • This is just a cute one of the “let’s all be friends” variety.

Judging by the fact that many of the Coffee Party members seem to be discouraged Obama activists who are being re-energized by what they see as a chance to hold Obama accountable to the progressive agenda they thought he was promising, and by the fact that many of these slogans are either the same old tired lines about cooperation or a reiteration of the standard leftist talking points, I don’t think the Coffee Party is going to ultimately have much impact on the political scene.  Certainly I do not think the Coffee Party will be able to do what the Tea Party has done, which is to recruit large members of the previously silent majority to stand up and protest the gradual encroachment of the state into the lives of private citizens (especially as I doubt that the majority of the people showing up at the coffee parties really have a problem with such a concept).  But I am afraid that they’ll get far more than their fair share of media attention from places like the New York Times, NPR, CBS and CNN, especially when you consider the fact that the Tea Party has gotten so little, so much of which has been negative (except of course, for that evil Fox News; do you think that has anything do with the Coffee people not liking them very much?).

But let’s get back to one fundamental point.  One of the last things that the Coffee Party founder said in her post was, “If you don’t believe that the government has any role, then yeah, you should join the Tea Party. ”  Only one problem: it simply isn’t true.  What the vast majority of conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party members believe (note I did not say Republicans or the GOP) about government’s role is the exact same thing that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, that governments are instituted amongst men to secure the inalienable rights of those governed, deriving their just powers from the consent of the same.

The Founding Fathers and other Revolutionaries (and yes, they were revolutionary, and not just because they fought a war) were not anti-government in the sense that they rejected all forms of governance over men.  On the contrary, they created the most successful and just form of government in the history of mankind.  But they didn’t do it by writing a Constitution about how government was necessary in order to make sure everyone had adequate food, clothing, housing and health care.  Their view of government was not that of a plantation with a particularly benevolent slave master who was under obligation to listen to the input of his slaves (which when you really think about it, is essentially what welfare statism advocates).  Rather, their view of man and government was that people have the right to live their lives free of the unwanted influence of others, and that governments were just when and only when they restricted their activities to those necessary to make sure this happened.

So until the Coffee Party starts singing to that tune, I think I’ll be sticking to Tea.

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7 Responses to “Coffee and Tea”

  1. larry |

    I wasn’t aware of the coffee group.
    Thank you for yet another very good article.

  2. Lisa |

    I heard about the Coffee Party yesterday. It does not surprise me to see this group emerge and I was expecting it. It will be interesting to watch and see how strong a message the movement has and how the media covers it.

  3. Brianna |

    Lisa – I don’t think it will become any more powerful in reality than any of the other lefty groups on the political scene, if that. But I do think it will be hyped up quite a bit by the mainstream media because it purports to be an alternative to the Tea Party and because they’re pleasantly “diverse”, politically correct, and really don’t have any serious talking points that could become a threat to the status quo.

  4. Tom |

    I hadn’t heard of the Coffee Party before, either. I think Brianna’s assessment is right — it won’t amount to much. I would compare it to Air America, which was hyped by the MSM far beyond anything it deserved.

    I listened to Air American for weeks on end over a period of a couple of years during times I was in the U.S. Overall, I found it way over the top on the crappola scale, with some of the most hateful political attacks on Bush et al. that I’ve ever heard directed at any political figure. Oddly enough, I thought Al Franken’s show was the best of the bunch, in terms of not being quite so irrationally extreme.

  5. Brianna |

    Remember how I said that the Coffee Party would probably not amount to much, though the news media might hype it up because it’s the safe, lefty alternative to the Tea Parties? Well it turns out I was right… by a couple of orders of magnitude, actually. Thousands of tea partiers showed up at rallies in Missouri to kill the bill. The number of Coffee Partiers rallying in support? 30.

  6. Roger |

    Geez, thanks for this. Like tons of Americans, I like beer. We should have a beer party. The winos should have a wine party. How about one for the hard stuff drinkers: a booze party? Wheat grass party? for the purists, a water party? For the young set, a milk party? Let’s not forget probably potentially the biggest party of all, the Coke and Pepsi party. We all have too much time on our hands and the Tea Partiers, probably the most.

  7. Tom |

    I’m with you, Roger. Think of all the various parties we could have and how much fun that would be. But as far as the beer party is concerned, I believe the President tried that with the cop and the professor, and it didn’t amount to much….

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