Friday, April 02, 2010

New Post! Exciting! Challenging!

I have two new posts rattling around my brain, which I think I will use to keep momentum in posting. A couple more people a day read my blog when I post frequently, and I live for that extra person, so here goes…

The second post will be on Barack the Magic Negro, a topic that will require a bit of research, and also require me to find what is respectful in political correctness without sound too damn stupid about things. So here is the first post, about the Tea and Coffee parties.

Again with the Coffee Party? (maybe Mel Brooks’ voice saying that). Well, it is interesting to me, and it is my blog, so if y-

A bunch of readers either simultaneously or sequentially just switched to the “OMG!Yahoo” or “Survivor: Heroes and Villains” pages. Let’s see if I can make this interesting to you, like it is to me.

The first Coffee Party meeting I went to, one woman kept saying she did not want to join something that was just opposed to the Tea Party. I was never quite sure what she wanted the Coffee Party to do, although I think she and maybe some others also repeatedly talked about changing the name of the group. Anyway, she sent a Facebook message to the group saying she didn’t think she could stay in the group.

Of course, there are lots of groups out there in the country today. Besides the Tea Party on the right/loony side, there is MoveOn dot org on the left, something called DemocracyRising which may be only a Pennsylvania thing or might be nation wide and many other groups. If you join the one, two or three month old Coffee Party, please don’t make your first demand that the name of the party/group be changed.

To step back and return to some exposition/set up, a couple of other Coffee Party people mentioned that they had gone over to, I believe, a Tea Party Facebook page, and had posted some “challenging” or “provocative” statements (not using their real names). They were curious how the Tea Party people would react.

It is probably a little regrettable that they did that, in that right now there is a difficult poster on the Coffee Party Pittsburgh page, but be that as it may, what resulted was interesting. That result was … nothing. No reaction from any Tea Party person. They refused to rise to the provocation, they did not defend their views, make an effort to say where our posters views where mistaken, no rude or polite comebacks.

A bit more exposition/set up, a while back, I guess in February, some people in the Tea Party released a Tea Party Declaration of Independence. I don’t know who wrote it, and whether members voted on the text. So maybe it is unfair to suggest it represents the views of the Tea Party as a whole. Yet I have not heard that any part of the Tea Party has rejected it (It can be found here, by the way). It is longer than the other declaration of independence. I, for one, might suggest it is less eloquent. I don’t recall an anti-intellectual streak in the original, for example, yet the Tea Party version rails at the “educated classes” and “so-called experts” telling Tea Party members and Americans in general what to do.

Taking these disparate things together, the lack of dialogue in and the manifesto of the Tea Party, I am suddenly much more comfortable if people’s first reaction to the Coffee Party is to see it as the opposite of the Tea Party. If we are seen as willing to talk (courteously) with anyone, at least as long as they are courteous with us, and if we are seen as listening respectfully to anyone, be (s)he Harvard grad or high school dropout, I for one will be proud to be a part of the Coffee Party in any capacity. To listen respectfully, to me, means that you listen and you are persuaded to the extent that the speaker makes sense and has some knowledge or mental capacity that is also persuasive. In other words, I do give the expert his or her due, but recognize the possibility that there may be intelligent and thoughtful people who can also contribute to a dialogue.

The other attractive thing about looking at the Coffee Party in this fashion is that it opens up the political dimension. A Democrat or Republican wno wanted to claim membership in the Coffee Party would be one who approached political discourse in a civil manner. I would hope some local politicians might join the local Coffee Party, and make an attempt in their daily activities to live up to the goals of civility in discourse.

It’s not that things would exactly change if more people gravitated towards the Coffee Party. But despite our many failings as a nation and a species, we have evolved morally and socially, since the dawn or recorded history. I mean, yeah, Survivor strikes me as barbaric, as do some laws in some countries requiring the lopping of limbs (including heads). But these days most everyone frowns on owning slaves, and woman can vote in many places. If our political discourse changes to the degree that a few more people frown when someone utters a threat or rude word, that makes it kind of worth it.

(Not that South Park or the Daily Show should be censored, some things are sacrosanct).

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