As the Tea Party "vows revenge over the health overhaul", the Coffee Party is mobilizing a massive, nationwide Coffee Party Summit this weekend. Emboldened by its rapidly growing fan base on Facebook, a hip new website, and 350-400 grassroots coordinated events nearly two weeks ago, the Coffee Party is looking to take the next big step toward becoming a legitimate political force.
On Saturday and Sunday, members of the Coffee Party movement will be gathering all across the nation to prepare for civil discourse with their local, Congressional representatives over the Easter recess.* Coffee Party activists claim that they are frustrated by paralyzing government gridlock, incessant partisan vitriole, and a media that does not truly represent their views. Many Coffee partiers also claim that the Tea Party's inflammatory rhetoric and belligerent style are counterproductive and ostracizing, even though they agree that the political system is broken.
While the Coffee Party welcomes Americans from all across the political spectrum, a perusal of signs, videos, and leader bios does appear to reveal a left-leaning political bent. So, much like the Tea Party's claims of strict "non-partisanship" are contradicted by its anti-Obama, anti-Democrat rhetoric, Coffee Party claims of nonpartisan purity should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Nevertheless, the Coffee Party movement is shaping up to be an extremely competitive counter to the Tea Party. Its calls for civil and rational discourse, as well as a solution-oriented agenda, are appealing to many Americans who feel politics has turned into a "den of vipers".
Ideally, the healthy competition between the two camps will spark productive dialogue and genuine political change, instead of further dividing a nation that is more polarized under President Obama than it was under President Bush.
* Editor's note: CAIVN would like to invite those who attend this weekend's Coffee Party Summit to come back and share their experiences on this comment thread.