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Confronting Tea Baggers and Having a Cup of Coffee (continued)

By Elizabeth Fattah

The idea of coffee parties instantly took off throughout the country. At the one I attended at a local coffee house, there were about 50 to 60 people, some standing since there were not enough seats for everyone. At the opening of the meeting a pledge was read to the audience that was agreed to by all: "I agree to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures. I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process."

People broke up into groups to discuss what they thought were the most important issues for them. Not surprising, the range of issues included healthcare (single payer), public financing of elections, ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and global climate change. The issues could have been taken from the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) agenda. The PDA had tried to pressure the Obama administration, especially on single payer, but to no avail.

A few of us there broached the idea of supporting a third party or starting a new one to put pressure on Democrats and the administration to push for a more progressive agenda.

There has been a second coffee party, and in some locations now even a third one, which I understand was well attended. Some Democrats running for office are interested in speaking at these gatherings, which makes sense since coffee party people are Democratic voters.

In comparison, the tea partiers represent fascist leanings that have come to the forefront with the election of an African American president. By flaunting their weaponry, death threats and overt racial slurs, the tendencies of tea partiers are clear. Right wing radio, TV, and the Republican Party have encouraged this behavior in hoping to gain votes in November.

Libertarians are sometimes found at the tea party gatherings but have a very different agenda. Their foreign policy objectives would warm the hearts of all Leftists. (Bring the troops home, not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from all foreign bases.) However, they do have a wacky domestic policy agenda.

There now needs to be a push by a Green/Left alliance to convince unions and progressive democrats to cease supporting and voting for Democrats. The coffee parties could be a beginning of building such an alliance/movement.