Sorry about the delay in posting. Still doing a job and a half, so for another month and change, I won't have much extra time.
I went to another "coffee party" meeting. The driving impulse of the people I've met seems to be a desire to get a seemingly stalled government moving again. But past that, there is not yet an agreed upon set of goals. There does seem to be a desire to facilitate civil communication between liberals and conservatives. I think the end goal of that would be to then get both groups to speak to their elected representatives, and present ideas that the two sides had agreed upon. But there is a long road before that, including another potentially divisive election this year.
Changing tack somewhat, at the two coffee party meetings I have gone to, I expressed an idea that was not much more than thinking aloud, but seemed to be well received. This is the way it goes: By now, we all (should) know that the rest of the industrialized world has more government involvement in health care. European and Asian countries, plus Canada and Latin American countries all have either single payer or heavily regulated private insurance. Why did they do this? Because they realized that not doing it would allow a much worse health care/insurance system. What would that much worse system look like? Well ... us. We are the poster child for why government involvement in the health care and insurance arena is so necessary. Think about that. The richest country in the world, the envy of the world in many ways, and we are making are nation figuratively sick with our unregulated health care/insurance system.
People seemed to be able to digest that idea pretty well. What do you think?