When I first read about the Coffee Party movement a few weeks back, it was a lark that started on Facebook to “promote civility and inclusiveness in political discourse, engage the government not as an enemy but as the collective will of the people, push leaders to enact the progressive change for which 52.9 percent of the country voted in 2008.” Now, I see via Kevin Drum that the idea has spread to include conservatives who are fed up with the shouting and name calling of the Tea Party movement. Coffee Party USA claims to have “nearly 200,000 supporters, sipping java and talking turkey in 47 states.”
Kevin defines a “coffee conservative” as one who “remains interested in actual policy and doesn’t feel the urge to rant tirelessly about decline of the west and the imminent tyranny that Barack Obama is bringing down on us.” That’s me to a T! (Or is that a C?) Whether it’s politics or beverages, I decidedly prefer coffee to tea.
To the extent that a civility wave will rein in the current anger in the Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and all the rest, I’m for it. But I remain skeptical of the idea of civility, per se, as an organizing principle for a political party.
It’s great that decent folk in Raleigh can get together and hash out their political differences over a cup of Joe. But, ultimately, ideas have to be translated into policies and spending priorities. And even people who are polite and respectful about it will have legitimate disagreements.