I just learned (from reading an article in today’s Albuquerque Journal) about the “Coffee Party,” which is supposedly a more polite alternative to the Tea Parties. Now, I have had nothing but good experiences with the various New Mexico-based Tea Parties, particularly those in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces, but I certainly understand the need for civility and I think an overwhelming majority of the Tea Parties and people involved with them are civil. Of course, the media will focus on those outliers and other “man bites dog” episodes.
The description of the Coffee Parties offered in the Journal article, instead of making me want to get involved with the movement, leaves me cold, particularly her blaming the attack on the IRS building on the Tea Parties to which not even a tenuous connection has been made. Ultimately, the indictment of the Coffee Parties is on their own website which indicates a basic ignorance of the Constitution and the vision of the Founding Fathers:
We want a society in which democracy is treated as sacrosanct and ordinary citizens participate out of a sense of civic duty, civic pride, and a desire to contribute to society. The Coffee Party is a call to action. Our Founding Fathers and Mothers gave us an enduring gift — Democracy — and we must use it to meet the challenges that we face as a nation
This is all wrong. The Founding Fathers were not big believers in “Democracy” or majority rule. Rather, they wrote the Constitution in a way that strictly limited the power of the federal government, set up a system of checks and balances to slow the political process, and gave us the First Amendment protections for free speech. The First Amendment’s protections are extremely important, not because it protects free expression on the part of the majority, but rather the views of the minority.
So, in summary, I won’t be heading to a Coffee Party anytime soon. I’ll take my TEA strong, thank you.