Fed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party, people in cities across the country are offering an alternative: the Coffee Party.
It’s like those ads in the ’80s: “If you like Calvin Klein’s Obsession, you’ll LOVE Compulsion!”
The Coffee Party soi-disant movement is pitching itself as a friendly alternative to the Tea Parties—disingenuously, as it turns out. But even if it were representing itself accurately, it would be tiresome. This is from the NYT profile, and…I mean, talk about someone who doesn’t get it:
The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”
“The way I see it,” Ms. Park said, “our government is diseased, but you don’t abandon it because it’s ill. It’s the only body we have to address collective problems. You can’t bound government according to state borders when companies don’t do that, air doesn’t. [AIR?! WTF?–SRK] It just doesn’t fit with the world.”
Dear lady, I Wake Up and Stand Up every morning and then read and watch the news so I know what’s going on. I voted by absentee ballot every even year of the dozen I lived abroad, and in November 2008 I got in line at my polling station at 6:15. Participating in the democratic process is important. I don’t gainsay that point.
The part that drives me nuts is that Washington has its greasy little tentacles insinuated into so many areas of American life that I don’t feel informed unless I’m constantly aware of what Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Em
manuel, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Tim Geithner, Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Ben Bernanke, Evan Bayh, Lindsey Graham, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters, Blanche Lincoln, Sarah Palin, Arne Duncan, Charles Rangel, Kathleen Sibelius, Robert Gates, and Peter Orszag have been getting their mitts all over during the last 72 hours. Note that that list doesn’t include Hillary Clinton—the Secretary of State—or my own damned senators and congresswoman. And we’re just talking about people I can now recall off the top of my head while agitated.
I don’t really do this because I’m a politics junkie. I would far rather spend a free eight minutes fantasizing about eating brioche crumbs out of Clive Owen’s chest hair than watching and listening to the unappetizing Barney Frank. But there’s so much to pay attention to that keeping informed feels practically like a full-time job. Enough, already.
Yes, the federal government is an instrument—“expression” sounds weird to me there—of our collective will. That’s exactly why it should be smaller. Americans have principled disagreements over a lot of issues. Getting together and talking about them can help establish goodwill and make things less contentious, but that doesn’t mean we’re ever going to be able to agree on most of them. Whatever you want to say about the air, state power would be better used if it were contained as much as possible. Competition and the right of exit allow citizens to make the trade-offs that best suit them; collectivism and central planning force citizens to adjust their aspirations to Washington’s master plan. It’s all very well to use the federal government to “address collective problems,” but we still have to decide what those problems are and are not.
The insouciant wag at the NYT writes, “The party has inspired the requisite jokes: why not a latte party, a chai party, a Red Bull party?” Heh-heh…funny! Me, I’ve informally decided to re-appropriate the Whiskey Rebellion. There’s one chapter (based in my apartment) with one member (guess who). The organizing principle is simple: Every time some DC hack or collectivist gasbag makes an authoritative-sounding public statement about a social or economic sector he or she clearly knows nothing about, I take a restorative sip of Laphroaig.
Added on 4 March: Thanks to Eric for the link. He has more on nanny-state-ism, as usual.
Added on 10 March: I always forget there’s only one m in Emanuel. Why can’t annoying people at least have names that are easy to spell?