Building a Sustainable Movement
Americans are longing for an energetic, non-partisan, and solutions-oriented approach to political discourse and civic participation. The Coffee Party is a rare achievement of all three ideals. That is why our…
Building a Sustainable Movement
Americans are longing for an energetic, non-partisan, and solutions-oriented approach to political discourse and civic participation. The Coffee Party is a rare achievement of all three ideals. That is why our unplanned, all-volunteer movement went viral so quickly, attracting nearly 300,000 active participants on Facebook, where our on-going virtual town hall receives nearly 4 million post views per day. Our message of civility and trans-partisan dialogue has allowed us to create an email list of over 65,000. Our YouTube channel has attracted 275,000 viewers. We've just launched a LiveStream channel, which has already registered 73,754 viewer minutes. And our Flickr page has nearly 2000 photos posted by Coffee Party members across the United States. When a movement is truly of, for, and by the People, billionaire sponsorship is not required. All of our methods of communication are free, or almost free, on the Internet.
As we enter our eighth month, the Coffee Party's long-term focus is to develop, replicate, and sustain an effective method of engagement. We are creating models of participation based on responsible citizenship — a sense of civic duty, patriotism, and a respect for our democratic system of government. Our goal is an informed and involved electorate that takes seriously the responsibilities of citizenship, not only for the purpose of winning elections, but to effectively govern our nation on behalf of The People, and no other interest.
Yes, we are non-partisan, but being non-partisan does not mean we will not take positions. It means that Coffee Party members will arrive at positions based on principles and facts; not based on party affiliation and ideology. It takes more time, it requires more work, and it requires more discipline. But it is what our country needs. Responsible citizenship is required to save our republic. Too many Americans simply adopt the rhetoric, and thus the agenda, of institutions wealthy enough to afford the tools of mass communication. A nation that is self-governed calls upon its citizens to make judgments and decisions for themselves. Thanks to technology available on the Internet, we believe that Americans can meet the challenges of self-governance in the 21st century by becoming active citizens rather than periodic consumers of partisan entertainment.
As members of the Coffee Party, we have found that the practice of responsible citizenship in a creative, collaborative environment fosters a sense of community and civic pride that is its own reward. Love of country is not based on shared resentment, anger, or fear. Love of country is based on shared values and ideals that define us as a people. The accomplishments of our first 8 months, and our future endeavors and future accomplishments, are founded in these ideals. That is what makes our volunteerism worth while. That is what powers our movement.
What ails our democracy, and what will cure it?
We believe that powerful special interests are employing deliberate tactics to divide and distract the American public, making us more susceptible to ill-considered proposals. Critical policy discussions are subjected to a perpetual cacophony of misinformation designed to breed cultural resentment, and sound policy decisions are undermined by the temptation of our elected leaders to play to this noise instead of the substance of a debate. The ugliness on television, on talk radio, and on blogs and conspiracy emails is alienating to the vast majority of Americans. Alienation breeds apathy. It shrinks participation, and leaves our democracy vulnerable to manipulation by the very special interests who fund and produce this alienation.
We need to learn to recognize and actively resist these tactics. We need to have a good understanding of Constitution and American history, and not allow the Constitution to be appropriated by vocal minorities seeking to advance a narrow, radical agenda. This is why we like to quote the Founding Fathers, Declaration of Independence, and other founding documents. This is why we are hosting a ground-breaking Mock Constitutional Convention. The values and ideals that inspired this country belong to us all; not just those who have the money and the motive to game the system. The only cure for the ailments of partisanship, special interest manipulation, and divisive tactics is active citizenship and informed participation from the American public.