Mar 242010
Authors: Wade McManus

Will you take coffee or tea? I think I will take coffee. In response to the rapidly growing Tea Party movement, a political counterpart has risen from the grass roots level. This new group has dubbed themselves as the Coffee Party.

The Coffee Party has sprung up in reaction to growing angst from the tactics of the radical Tea Party movement. Many of their complaints are similar, and the underlying message is almost identical.

Both parties agree that the federal government has lost touch with public opinion and there has to be something done to change its direction. The federal government has to set a new course.

Though the underlying message is similar, the rhetoric is quite different. The most heard voices of the Tea Party come from loose-lipped, gun-slinging fanatics who sound like they are ready to wage a war against our government.

Of course they never will, though that is why they say they might need their guns. But the possibility of violence is not out of the question.

The TeaPparty activists view the government as a separate entity, and one that is an enemy to the people. Some of these people go as far to call the pilot who flew a plane into the Texas IRS building a hero. A man defending the people from the intrusion of the IRS or something like that, I guess.

These are the people who faithfully quote the constitution to obstruct progress and to impede any movement at all. And yet, many of these people refuse to separate church and state in their Christianity-based political ideologies.

The underlying messages of the two parties may be similar but the desired direction is different.

The Coffee Party does not view the government as the enemy. Though members will admit that our government is out of touch, they believe that ultimately the government should serve as a channel to realize the collective will and common ground of its diverse citizens.

At this party, open dialog is welcomed, nay, encouraged. They do not wish to silence anyone’s voice (except the manipulative and distorted voice of corporate interests), but rather to consider diverse perspectives to find common solutions to the issues facing all Americans.

Many engaged in the Coffee Party probably lean to the left and even openly support President Obama. But this movement is not about political party affiliation.

The Coffee Party movement is about sensible progress; it’s about expanding the influence of the general public and promoting solution-oriented dialog.

A few key issues have emerged out of this dialog thus far, including healthcare and unemployment. Many have called for the end of the corporate domination of our political institutions and taxation only with proper representation.

It is a matter of civility and the responsibility that the government holds to its people that interests the Coffee Party. And the spirit of democracy is the foundation.

Our country is misguided. To overcome this, we will need more than loose lips and fanatical rants. Solution-oriented conversation and citizen empowerment is what will redirect us in the right direction.

Remember that change in and of itself is not good if it takes us down the wrong direction. I do not believe the direction the Tea Party activists would like to go is the right one for American citizens.

Again, I ask will you take coffee or tea? It does not really matter, bring tea if you would like, but come to the table ready for civil conversation and rational solutions to redirect our federal government, not to abolish it.

Wade McManus is a senior political science major. His column appears on Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 4:14 pm

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