Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coffee Party Founder Tastes Strange Brew

Annabel Park was a 42 year-old Korean-American who had tired of hearing about how the Tea Party movement represented real America. She imagined the legitimate alternative to the 'hysteria' of the Tea Partiers would be a group where people could come together and discuss things reasonably. Posting her thoughts on her My Space one January day resulted in a cascade of support from others wanting to challenge the Tea Party.

Last Saturday The Coffee Party launched its first set of meetings, but as described in Newsweek, Annabel was shocked to discover the tone was not all that she had imagined. She had anticipated a coming together of engaged, intelligent citizens who had tired of the angry rhetoric and accusations she felt represented the Tea Partiers. She imagined people of all political persuasions joining in a spirit of equanimity to discuss the nation's problems, and maybe even share a laugh. That's not quite what unfolded down at Busboys and Poets, a hip bookstore in Washington DC.
"But from the moment folks in the crowd stood up to speak their minds, Park knew these people had not come to sip cappuccinos and set an example of civility for an overheated nation. They were angry. They hated the Tea Party, and the Republican Party. They wanted to get even. "

Wow, that's a lot of hostility, man.
"Park, a 42-year-old Korean-American with a smile that can only be described as "kind," regularly tried to steer the talk back to the group's more centrist principles. But when someone asked how many people in the room were Republicans, all 80 hands remained down. "I like the civility idea, but I hate the Tea Party people," said attendee Karen Anderson."

Hate? Hate is a pretty strong word, Karen. And Annabel isn't really into hate. That's what this protest, or counter-protest, was all know, an anti-hate movement.
"By the end of the event, some in the crowd had decided the movement, barely two months old at the time, needed a new leader. China Dickerson, a 26-year-old community organizer, said the Coffee Party wouldn't last "unless we get someone a little more powerful to head it." She wanted a rabble-rouser, "not someone that says we can all work together." Park seemed a little rattled after the meeting. "If they want to fire me, this may not be the group for them," she said later. "We don't want conflict and confrontation."

Well, you may not want conflict and confrontation, but the people that are anti-teaparty...they're all about conflict and confrontation. And their first collective action will be to initiate a little change. That's where China's 'community organizer' skills will come into play, and her first item of business will be to give you the axe.

Bummer, dude.

Stace has written an insightful assessment of the reality of politics.


  1. People are so weird. 80 people come to check out an organization they're thinking of joining, and discover that neither its purpose nor its founder is what they expected -- so they try to demand that both be changed, rather than just going away and starting an organization of their own. (Say, the Vitriol Party, so no-one else will be confused.)

  2. True enough, Cathy.

    But, at the same time, the whole rationale of Ms Park's "Coffee Party" was (at best) misguided ... it seems to me that this result was really implicit in her rationale.

  3. It is odd, isn't it. And for Ms. Park, really an eye opener. If she were looking for intelligent, reasoned debate, she really should be showing up at a Tea Party rally. I think her assumptions of the Tea Party types were actually applicable to the statist socialist types that rallied around her anti-Tea Party cause. I feel bad for her. Good grief.

  4. It *should* be an eye-opener for her, and one hopes it is. Yet, given the assumptions she appears (from the writing) to be working under, one is not hopeful.

    Yet, human beings, being free, are able to choose to see evidence that contradicts their axioms; so, one cannot discount the possibility that she has learned something.

  5. Well, she seems like a woman of enough intelligence that this 'eye-opener' may cause her to reconsider other assumptions. If she really IS interested in developing "a group where people could come together and discuss things reasonably", the whole Coffee Party movement could distill back down to a really interesting blog.

    I think, if she wants to avoid "the angry rhetoric and accusations", she should consider the "Decaf Party."

    (This is so great -- I can't even hear the groans from here.)

  6. Maybe "5 Hour Energy" to really keep the eyes open?