It is times like this that try men’s souls. Political strife is at an all time high. The government is out of control. Our representatives ignore us. Tea parties have swept the country, seething with antigovernment sentiment. Some people advocate armed insurrection. Others shoot children, and others fly planes into IRS offices.
It’s not that the tea parties don’t make valid points, or have valid concerns. I find myself sympathizing with them more often than not. It’s not that the tea parties are violent or promote violence, either. They aren’t. It’s just that in this charged atmosphere I think it’s important to have at least one voice speaking for tolerance, civility, and unity, and the tea parties were not constructed primarily for that purpose. This is why the coffee parties are important.
The tea parties capture the spirit of these words from the declaration of independence: “…when government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it…” Meanwhile, the coffee parties capture the spirit of these words, also from the declaration of independence: “…prudence, indeed, hath shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right himself by abolishing the forms to which he is accustomed…” Both parts are important.
The tea parties capture the spirit of the revolutionary war flag with the snake on it, warning, “Don’t tread on me!” The coffee parties capture the spirit of the revolutionary war political cartoon with the snake on it, exhorting, “Unite, or die!” Both parts are important.
In a way, the tea parties play “bad cop” by brandishing a stick at our leaders when they don’t cooperate, while the coffee parties play “good cop” by extending a carrot when they do.
The tea partiers have much to gain by having a coffee party. Most tea partiers aren’t violent and don’t want violence, but they aren’t structured to police themselves. Calling out those in their ranks that may support violence would be distracting and take them off message. In this case, the coffee party can help. At the same time, tea partiers want people to listen to them, but a tea party is hardly a place for dialogue (it’s a demonstration). Again, the coffee parties can help, by bringing those to the table that may not have come any other way. The tea parties are about Washington listening to us, while the coffee parties are about us listening to each other.
The coffee partiers also have much to gain from the tea party. One of the reasons why we fight so much is that there is much to fight over. Abortion has become an even bigger issue now that public funds may end up going to it. Whether or not evolution or sex-ed should be taught in school wouldn’t be nearly so controversial if schools weren’t publicly funded with our money. When we have to choose between tax increases or reduced benefits to balance the budget, is it any wonder that we compete over resources? The smaller the government, the more able each of us (as states or as individuals) is able to go our own way and so live in harmony. Thus, the small-government advocacy of the tea parties goes a long way to support the civility goals of the coffee parties.
Learn more about the coffee parties at www.coffeepartyusa.com or at www.facebook.com/coffeeparty.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.