The Tea Partiers have at last inspired a burgeoning counter-movement, Coffee Party USA, founded by Annabel Park, 41, a documentary filmmaker in the Washington suburb of Silver Springs, Md.
From a Facebook page not long ago, Coffee Partiers have proliferated across at least 30 states, organizing about 1,200 chapters.
It would be simplistic to describe this new movement as simply opposed to right-wing obstructionism of the mandate 52.9% of Americans gave Barack Obama in November 2008. In activities that include an upcoming national conference and a March on Washington, adherents of the Coffee Party movement are seeking to promote civility and inclusiveness in political discussion. That's obviously a welcome alternative in a rancid political environment in which so many ideas are simply ruled out of order, by politicians and Beltway pundits alike.
Founder Park initially flirted with the name "Cappaccino Party" to provide the Tea Partiers with an overtly elitist foil. But Park and her thousands of e-mail and Facebook correspondents ultimately settled on America's favorite drink. The group, already boasting about 115,000 members, plans to hold 300 to 400 meetings at coffee shops across the nation.
Launching a national coalition of organizers for progressive change is about as challenging as you might imagine. It's a task Park candidly describes as "trying to perform surgery in the dark." But the rapid growth in CP membership among kindred spirits who still believe in the urgency for change, and are frustrated at how that promise got bogged down, has not only lifted Park's spirits. It offers a new forum for progressives who can be excused for beginning to think they might be alone in their hopes for an American social renaissance.
For updates on Coffee Party activities, click here.
350 Coffee Parties bring a change of flavor (Ole Ole Nelson, News Junkie Post)