Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coffee Party Meeting

Today, Nancy and I went down to a meeting of a group called The Coffee Party, here in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Coffee Party typically meets at coffee houses, and is not all that formal of an organization, it does insist that all of its members and participants to take "The Civility Pledge" which states:

"As a member and supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest and respectful to 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."

I took the pledge and indeed, I do value these principles and will strive to incorporate them in my daily life and discussions with others. I do believe that we can disagree, without being disagreeable. The meeting today was most interesting, let me tell you a little about the people I met and what I learned.

The Coffee Party meeting was crowded as more than 3 times the number of people turned out that were expected. The people who attended had varying backgrounds, a Veteran's Administration worker, school teachers, sales people, public relations and you name it. This group worked to develop an agreed position on what they wanted and were very specific in stating that our elected representatives in Washington need to:

1. Be civil and respectful with people even when they disagree

2. Be cooperative and collaborative with all of their colleagues,

3. Be honest and straight forward with the American people about the facts that influenced their beliefs.

Let's take a minute and say specifically what that means in the context of today.

  • Civil and Respectful discussion: precludes yelling out "You Lie" at the President of the United States. It also precludes yelling out "Baby Killer" at a U.S. Senator. These types of emotional outbursts, send out a very negative message to all of the American people.

  • Cooperative and Collaborative; means working together with varying factions to devise solutions to issues that are in the best interest of the American People as a whole, rather than party line voting.

  • Finally, being honest and straight forward requires the highest level of ethics in our political discourse; refraining from repeating falsehoods, innuendo, or circulating untrue rumors for political advantage. Further, this means that information circulated via, television, radio, newsprint, or internet should be fully validated before it is passed on. Honest and straight forward also precludes the use of scare tactics.

What will happen next? I have no idea, but think this is a pleasant alternative to the "tea party'.

All the best,

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