The Coffee Party Report! Did It Play In Peoria?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on March 13, 2010 0 Comments

There weren’t any signs or protesters.  There wasn’t any chanting and no voices were raised.  Today’s Coffee Party launch was, however, the beginning of awareness for many as they converged today in coffee houses across the U.S.  Hoping to awaken dreams of an alternative voice to Tea Party drama and conservative politics,


In Peoria, turnout was low (thanks to the 6 of us who braved the wilds), but then, it was a rainy Saturday, and Peoria is legendary for its Republican conservatives.  Let’s face it, Aaron Schock is the Congressional Rep in this, the Illinois 18th District, and this IS the State that elected Rod Blagojevich on the heels of George Ryan.  I suppose my own expectations may have been set a tad high.  Still, the “host” for the Coffee Party was a no-show.  I’d like to know who that person was supposed to be!  Since the RSVP list for the Coffee Party included only one (mine!) response, maybe they decided to remain anonymous and save themselves public exposure instead. 



I’ve been scouring the press all afternoon and there are no reports about local Coffee Party results; which make me wonder how much CNN got for the airtime it so obligingly gave.   There are several discussion/forum posts on the website.  Hopefully mirroring the attendance at other Coffee Parties, our small group enjoyed a refreshing and intellectual take on several events and situations.  The discussion centered mostly on why more people didn’t attend, and what the mechanics might be to actually introduce, accomplish, and sustain political change.  These are not unfamiliar questions.


As with the Tea Partiers, the answers don’t seem to lie in a group of like-minded people getting together for a love fest that borders on group therapy.  Such meetings make for great news drama and theatrics, but few, if any, actual issues are resolved.  No further movement is necessary once the initial bitch fest is over.  The ultimate question seems to always come back to the real issues –  the same issues reflected in our Congressional displays of apathy and self interest.  Few people are willing to debate rationales on a level of open-minded problem solving.  We’d rather rant and rave and shout our personal viewpoints and positions from the mountain tops.  Few people, beyond the academics, journalists, political pundits and media broadcasters have the time or the energy to actually test their reasoning and basis for their particular political and social views.  The herd instinct is, unfortunately, curiously gratifying.


As a writer, I constantly question why articles about sexy, risqué pictures of Scotty Lago at the Olympics unleash 100 times the hits that political reports and discussions enjoy.  I’m confused everyday why trends and buzz about the latest Lost or Survivor episodes top the lists in multiple positions, and the topics that actually impact our lives go relatively unclicked and unsearched.  Last week, the story about Asperberger’s Syndrome was aced by the reports about misspellings of “assbergers.”  The Scotty Lago article out trumped Finally a Voice Speaking Out For Real Financial Reform!, Credit Card Reforms Start Today – Know Your Rights and Your New Power!, and How Could Bayh Not Love Congress? What Do Congressional Actions Say About You?


So, the questions remain; do Americans really “want to see cooperation in government.”  Do “We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans?”  Judging from the evidence and  fact that the Democrats and Republicans are in so much a state of power over our Congressional process, it’s sadly clear that “as voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them,” but there are a darned few of us who are actually willing to do so.   Is this the Coffee Party answer to reform?  Is it a fluke of the Midwestern politics I’m living under?  Today, I’m so homesick for the dream of America I could scream.

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