Skip to comments.Bringing Tea to the Coffee Party
Posted on 03/01/2010 4:57:00 AM PST by Walter Scott Hudson
The Washington Post contained an article Friday detailing an emerging counter to the Tea Party movement. It has been billed the Coffee Party. The following is an open letter to its founder, Los Angles based video documentarian Annabel Park:
Dear Ms. Park,
Please accept my congratulations regarding the establishment of your citizen activist group. I understand the Coffee Party is very grass-roots, [with] no official organization. These are characteristics shared with its elder counterpart, the Tea Party movement.
As an active participant in the latter, I would like to extend an olive branch to pursue your stated goal of [promoting] civility and inclusiveness in political discourse. Based on the article chronicling your groups formation in Fridays Washington Post, I believe you may hold a couple big misconceptions regarding the Tea Party movement and the philosophy which drives it. I would like to address these with the objective of promoting understanding, not necessarily agreement. I am under no delusion we will see eye-to-eye on specific issues, but hope you agree there is value in accurately understanding that with which you disagree.
First, a disclaimer is required. I do not speak for the Tea Party movement, as I imagine you cannot claim to speak for your cohort. I share my perspective with the caveat other Tea Partiers may disagree. Similarly, I do not expect you to answer for the claims of others, but feel compelled to address those reported in the Washington Post.
Let us begin with a point of consensus. I agree wholeheartedly with the statement of your colleague in the LA Speaks YouTube video. There is a great divisive culture between the two [major political] parties now. The healthy environment of a conversation has almost completely evaporated. I believe healthy conversation is possible. However, a crucial prerequisite is a common goal. If, by conversation, your cohort means an avenue toward clear understanding, that is achievable. If, however, the objective is consensus on specific issues, that may not be achievable. As we shall explore here, there are fundamental principles underlying the Tea Party movement which cannot be compromised.
The greatest misconception your side seems to have of the Tea Party is its obstructionist nature. The Washington Post describes a goal to obstruct reform and discourage thoughtful deliberation. One of the speakers in your video claims the Tea Party [wants] the status quo or wants things to stay the same. Another states she is fatigued by the obstruction of the progress of the Obama government. This idea that the Tea Party is against progress is untrue, if by progress we are referring to positive change in the conduct and quality of life. We simply disagree regarding the origin of progress. The Coffee Party seems to think it comes from government. The Tea Party believes progress can only derive from people, and too much government obstructs it.
Dave Henderson is quoted in the Washington Post article as saying, The political mood right now is blame Obama for everything. This is also untrue. The president is not the sole focus of the movements ire. Republicans are also highly criticized for the failure of many to adhere to their articulated principles. As you may have noted in recent weeks, the collective response among the Tea Party to claims staked by the GOP has been a cry of foul. While individual Tea Partiers such as myself may opt to participate in the Republican Party, the emergent consensus among the movement is a desire to remain non-partisan, decentralized, and inclusive of disparate activist groups unified by a few core principles. As Robert Gaudet relates in the Post article, those principles include fiscal responsibility, free markets, [and constitutionally] limited government.
Here we return to the point about obstruction. Presumably, when your cohort bemoans an obstruction of progress, they refer predominately to the health care reform debated in Washington over the past year. On this issue and others, Republicans have been characterized as the party of no. Conservatives and libertarians as a whole, represented in overlapping parts by the GOP, the Tea Party movement, independents, and even some Democrats, have been accused of being unwilling to negotiate. We can negotiate. We are willing to achieve consensus. There is, however, a clear framework within which such consensus must be bound the Constitution of the United States.
It has become popular in the culture to advocate thinking outside the box. Indeed, there are many opportunities in life where unconstrained thinking may lead to innovative solutions. However, there are certain contexts in which innovation must always be constrained. If, for instance, you entertain the hypothetical question of what you might do with a million dollars, the answer, while perhaps enlightening in some existential way, is of limited practical use without actually having the million dollars. In America, government is similarly constrained. It must operate within the box of constitutional limitations. When proposals venture beyond those constraints, consensus is not possible. One team cannot blame the other for refusing to play outside the bounds.
I hope you found something of value here, and invite further correspondence if you fill it could be productive. One issue where our movements appear to agree is term limits and the need for citizen legislators. There may be other points of commonality which can be discovered through the civil political discourse you crave.
Walter Scott Hudson
I like referring to it as a Coffee Klatsch...and at least that's not some pervert joke.
good letter, but i don’t think it will do any good. we’re not talking about reasonable people here, dems lack logic, reason, and common sense. i also think the coffee party is one of the most pathetic things the dems have ever done. it’s a joke really, and they’re too stupid to realize it.
Wonder how much $oro$ is paying for the Coffee Party?
Pray for America and the Tea Parties
Hey Coffee Partiers—I know you’re out there—as Hudson says in his article some things are not negotiable.
For example I believe with every fiber of my being that abortion is murder. Now you can disagree and be derisive of that belief, but if you push state funded abortion on me then I must push back. I will not sit idly by and be forced to pay for the killing of human babies.
Frankly, it is beyond me why anyone with a modicum of a conscience would want to be enthusiastically involved in abortion. And there should be special place in hell for mothers, doctors and nurses who cold bloodedly kill babies who survive abortion.
Screw civility. We must be willing to win at any and all costs.
What makes it all the more ironic is that they are cutting off their own supply of future voters.
good letter, but i dont think it will do any good. were not talking about reasonable people here, dems lack logic, reason, and common sense. i also think the coffee party is one of the most pathetic things the dems have ever done. its a joke really, and theyre too stupid to realize it.
As I stated elsewhere in response to a similar sentiment, if this group is going to bemoan the lack of civil political discourse, and if the Washington Post is going to echo it for them, it is worth demonstrating where the fault for such lack lies.
Instead of coffee party how about the E$pre$$o Party?
What possible common ground could there be between the Tea Parties, whose members advocate less government control over citizens' lives and the collectivist borg that advocates government control over every aspect of citizens' lives?
I smell Organizing for America all over this.
While I have no problem exploring any common ground found, my objective is primarily to clarify misrepresentations. I could care less of Park or anyone agrees with me. But I am compelled to offer the opportunity to accurately understand what they disagree with.
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