Despite philosophical differences between the Coffee Party and the Tea Party, both grassroots movements are united by at least two key principles.
“In this election, let’s reject the campaign tactics that divide the American People and pit us against one another just to win an election,” the Coffee Party says in a statement on their website. Championing civil dialogue, they hope to play nice when it comes to choosing their DC representatives the next election.
Their reason for starting the alternative movement of the Coffee Party is based both on a diversity factor and on an ideological one. Coffee Party members noted what they saw as an overwhelmingly white Tea Party population, despite the fact that the Tea Party has other members that are not white.
Ideologically, what draws the Coffee Party together is more significant. The main philosophical difference between the Coffee Party and Tea Party is their contrasting view of government’s role. The Tea Party has a more skeptical view, being especially frustrated by government intervention via recent healthcare legislation, unprecedented deficit spending, and corporate bailout packages.
The Coffee Party claims to share a more enlightened view, proposing that government can accomplish much good through reasonable legislation. “We recognize 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 that we face as Americans,” it says in another website statement.
It might be fair to suggest that the Coffee Party is a sign of a healthy democracy, for it demonstrates that the populace is not all narrowly like-minded; instead, the United States is a marketplace of competing ideas.
Despite differences in beliefs regarding the role of government, the Coffee Party and the Tea Party do agree that the government has a sacred duty to the people that put them in office, and that there is a valid contract between individuals and their government officials. If that contract is broken, people have the ultimate power to remove elected officials from office when it comes time.
What also unites the Coffee Party and the Tea Party is a growing cynicism toward Congress’ susceptibility in being unduly influenced by big corporations. It is in this skepticism of their government that both grassroots organizations can work together toward the common good.
Whatever the end results may be come November 2010 and in 2012, hopefully an engaged political populace will work together to hold government accountable.