OK, so I did it. I went to the local Coffee Party on Saturday, March 13th.
I’m conservative with a long track record of supporting whatever walks the right side of the street. Although born a Democrat, back in 1972 I even joined the ‘Democrats for Nixon’ campaign as a highschooler — in Florida there were no Republicans elected to state office until 1978. None. Long story short: I have never identified with liberal or Democratic groups, even though I was born a Democrat — registering as a Republican only when that other former Democrat ‘God bless Ronald Reagan’ ran for president.
Bottomline: I wasn’t sure how these Coffee folks would take to someone with an NRA ballcap, who openly describes themself as conservative, or how they would deal with someone willing to discuss issues from a more conservative perspective. Certainly I have seen how more liberal-minded people were treated by the opposing view in my community — not a pretty sight.
There were a few things said by fellow attendees that made my ears twitch. At one point a group moderator even pointed me out and said “OK, so you smiling. So why the smile?” Blink. Blink. “Oh, crap” thought I. “She mistaked my smirk for a smile.” Time to put up or to shut up. So I did. Blink. Blink. “OK, well that’s a helpful perspective to understand a different view”, said she … and on we moved in the conversation. Hmmm …
Our group conversation focused on issues that we all individually believe should be of interest and worthy of group investigation. The issues added up: 15, 20, 25 … perhaps 30 different issues got listed. Then each participant got two votes to select two issues that they personally would like the group to focus on. Issues with the most votes were rolled into four study groups.
Hmmm … so the rumors that I heard beforehand that this was just a disguised group pimping for liberal causes or the Democratic party were … they were … bogus. Solidly bogus.
By the day’s end I found myself in the ‘Financial Oversight’ issue study group responsible for issues such as taxation, banking regulation, etc.
Boom! So now we would get our agenda if it were ever to happen. Someone would surely guide the study groups to what breadcrumbs should be followed. Nope. Didn’t happen.
We six group members decided what topics we wanted to study, set our own agenda for meeting, created a Facebook page to exchange info and to build whitepapers that can be used within the group and for approaching our legislators. The Coffee leadership didn’t even get involved in asking what we had decided upon. They’ll find out when we report back later in the month.
I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.
America stands at a crossroads. We are always arriving at some crossroad but the issues today are huge and imminently in front of us. The outcome will directly affect our children and grandchildren, leaving them incredible debt. We owe trillions to foreign countries and investors (and to Americans, too) — almost $2 trillion is due in October 2010 to pay back money borrowed in the early 2000s.
We have major healthcare issues that are at an impasse; our system is one of the best medicine that people can buy. Yet we rank just ahead of Cuba in the general health of our population. Obamacare to me is an abomination that will bankrupt the country and yet the alternative is “personal responsibility” — even though healthcare insurers are a monopolistic industry and some recently announced hikes of 25-36% in annual premiums.
Enough of labels. Enough of political party hacks and support groups — both the Democratic and Republican parties are focused on the next election. Neither can be trusted to hold real discussions and to make hard decisions. Each put party before country.
As for all the liberals, moderates, conservatives and wingers of every stripe: I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.
If you want to sit down with me and discuss issues then good. Check your name calling and label machines at the door — I don’t have time for you or that if that is what you are about.
Here is what I am about: God bless the U.S. Constitution, the 10th Amendment has real meaning, don’t put your hands in my pockets to pay for programs — unless we are both paying the same, and we should pay as we go. I don’t believe that “cut taxes” is the answer to everything, but taxes should be minimal and government intrusion into our lives should also be. But be assured “we” includes both you and me. We are both Americans — and I’ll drink any beer that you buy me. … :^)
I’ll meet with you any time and any place — except Sunday afternoons when I’m either enjoying my Second Amendment rights or playing soccer, or doing both.
BTW – I drink both tea and coffee. Both are OK with me.
This post by Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com, an independent observer of American political life, economics, and workforce issues.