In a splendid (or, should I say splenda?) new development in the Tea Party Movement saga (see post “steeping in transparency”), a grassroots countermovement has emerged via social media that is calling itself the “Coffee Party.” The party started on Facebook when individuals who were frustrated with the Tea Party’s claim that the Tea Party was representative of America took to this Web 2.0 platform to express their frustration. The Coffee Party Facebook fan page now has over 150,000 “fans.” Kicking off with upwards of 400 coast-to-coast coffee house meetings, the Coffee Party claims to be unaligned with either political party and boasts the same platform that the Tea Party does: A call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation from their government.
I questioned the true authenticity of the Tea Party and its “grassroots” nature after learning more about the “coincidental” relationship between Tea Party activist groups and GOP political consultants. It has not taken long for the same skepticism arise; at least, skepticism from the Tea Party. A Tea Party leader said, in a CNN article, “This Coffee Party looks like a weak attempt at satire or a manufactured response to a legitimate widespread grassroots movement.” Other critics claim that the Coffee Party is merely a pro-Obama movement to counter the growing conservative criticism of The Obama Administration and Congress.
From what I see, the Coffee Party is completely authentic and grassroots and I certainly don’t get the whiff of astroturfing that the Tea Party has exuded. I don’t see how a nationwide movement of coffee house meetings that sprouted via a social networking page in six weeks is any less legitimate than what the Tea Part claims to be. And with strikingly similar goals – accountable political representation – you would think that the Tea Party would support their caffeinated counterparts in a united attempt to realign political representation with the issues that matter to the public. Dare I say the Tea Party is losing steam?
The Coffee Party’s first coordinated national effort will be March 27, when members will meet to discuss ways of engaging members of Congress during the Easter recess. It will be interesting to see where both the Coffee Party and the Tea Party go from here. Until then, I have more words of advice for the Tea Party (my first recommendation was a call for transparency in my post “steeping in transparency”):
Tea parties in glass houses….