Thursday, August 05, 2010

Coffee, Tea, or . . .

The right mix for the U.S.A.
Extremists want their position, and only theirs, to prevail on political issues. If the often-expressed definition of politics as “the art of compromise” is correct, they have no chance of being satisfied with any government action, or lack thereof, based on laws enacted by our elected representatives. Frustration is inevitable.

Lately, the frustration seems more intense than usual. We have a motley collection of right-wing nuts in the Tea Party and other fringe groups getting a lot of media attention. We have an equally motley group of left-wing nuts mucking about with something called the Coffee Party.

What’s new? Our present radical parties both claim they are not parties at all. The Tea Party crowd steadfastly refuses to propose its own candidates or develop a coherent platform. It seeks to exercise clout by vehemently opposing anyone who is “not conservative enough,” whatever that is, or who supports “big government,” whatever that means.

Tea Party adherents have spewed hate, waved obscene signs, and even advocated violence in a few cases, at rallies across the land. Not everyone has engaged in this sort of reprehensible conduct, but many did. The trouble with right-wing extremists is that too many of them are mean and selfish people. Many are woefully uninformed concerning the things they keep howling about.

Unhappy with what they viewed as excessive media coverage of Tea Party activities, two radical liberals formed the opposition Coffee Party in January. It quickly ballooned into more than 200,000 Facebook members by the end of April, and millions visit its web pages. Adherents have held one round of local meetings and are planning a national convention.

Coffee Party leaders say one of their goals is to restore civility in political discourse. That’s a laudable, but tall, order. America seldom has experienced a lot of civil political discourse, although most agree there has been even less civility than usual lately. Some practice runs may be needed. At an early Coffee Party meeting, several attendees hissed and booed various statements that mentioned conservatives. Surely, this was not a demonstration of civility.

True to the common perception of way-out liberals, the Coffee Party intends to employ a vague process of “collective deliberation” to arrive at a decision (they don’t say what problems are being addressed!), and then implement the decision, whatever that means. Vague nonsense such as this is why left-wing extremists are such a small minority in our country. The trouble with left-wing extremists is that too many of them are wildly impractical, and often the upper-crust among them exudes an abrasive arrogance. They are as out of tune with mainstream Americans as the arch-conservatives on the other end of the spectrum.

It is interesting that the Coffee Partiers banded together because the Tea Partiers were getting too much ink and air time. That remains true. One hardly hears or sees much about the Coffee Party and their ideas, or lack thereof, in the media. We hear a lot about the Tea Party. Whatever happened to the “liberal media” invented by and complained about by far-right wingers for years?

What does the advent of the radical “parties” tell us? It appears a fair number of Americans are dissatisfied with the performance of both traditional political parties. The role of political parties is to define positions and produce slates of worthy candidates who will support the positions. A lot of people believe Republicans and Democrats have done a poor job of that lately. So, what should we do?

We should form a new party that better reflects core American values and fearlessly uses analytical approaches to solving our many problems. I propose we do that without delay. The American Cocktail Party’s goal will be to “serve the people of the United States by creating an excellent blend of good government and personal freedom.”

I would volunteer to be the party’s first presidential candidate, but I’m wary of taking on such heavy responsibility. I wouldn’t vote for myself. As a fully mature adult, I might need to take a nap when the red phone rang, and that would not be good. I will, however, respond to what is expected to be a huge groundswell of interest by serving as party chairman.

Unlike me, the Cocktail Party will be constantly on the alert. After all, it always is meeting time somewhere. Unlike the Tea and Coffee parties, the Cocktail Party will not be automatically against anything, and we will shoot straight arrows rather than warm fuzzies at problems.

The party will encourage grass-roots participation up to a point. The problems are obvious, so Cocktail partiers will save a lot of time by leaving it up to the chairman (me) to describe the issues. Anyone may propose problem solutions; however, the party platform will be developed by a small committee. The planks will be specific, not a bunch of generalities. The Cocktail Party will back candidates who sign statements pledging support for at least 90 percent of the actions recommended by the party. Voters will actually know what they are voting for!

Leaders of the American Cocktail Party will consider all ideas, but scant attention will be paid to gutter-sniping from the extreme left or right. Instead, Cocktail partiers will march straight down the middle, advancing Old Glory as the standard of a nation steadily moving forward. We may stagger slightly at times, but we shall never fall or retreat.

What do you think? Want to sign up? The party starts at 5 p.m. everywhere.


Alan G said...

Not to change the subject but...I watched "Packer Family Night" last night on cable and wondered if you were there partaking of the festivities.

Dick Klade said...

Darn, Alan, I didn't make the trip. As usual, I marveled at the fans who bought tickets (believe about 35,000 did) to watch a scrimmage! I'm getting fired up to watch the real contests at Joe's Pizza, starting soon.