Ten years ago today, a growing divide became apparent among the body politic. While our country was framed with a vision of governance by a diverse group of people, and with a distrust of power blocs and factionalism – the symptoms of a system afflicted with partisanship were clear. Started in living rooms and coffee shops and online spaces, Coffee Party USA provided an alternative to those disenfranchised by the Party wars.
Ten years later, our work is more vital than ever. The war between the political establishments is on the rise, and it neglects those the parties should be fighting for. With your help, we’ve marched on Washington, we’ve engaged in a national conversation, and we’ve fought for transparency and accountability in government. We’ve fought money in politics through unleashing the Stamp Stampede. And we’ve encouraged electoral engagement by being your Voter Buddy.
This is a movement a million strong and driven by the passion of our volunteers. The reasons why we volunteer are as diverse as our perspectives. As Amy puts it:
The Coffee Party gives me the opportunity to learn from people with different perspectives who prioritize respectful discussion. And we have fun doing it!
For Jeanne, the benefits are threefold.
First, it has helped to clarify the worldwide extent of the changes, fears, and threats some of our fellow citizens are experiencing. Second, with a political perspective welcoming of change, Coffee Party provides a venue to meet a more diverse political perspective. Third, it provides an opportunity to work to provide more political cooperation and shared problem solving.
These diverse experiences enrich our consensus government and help us all realize the bonds we share in this great national experiment. Self-governance is hard, and the fear of changing culture provides a strong yearning for the factionalism and tribalism that concerned our framers in the early days of our union. This has been brought into sharp clarity in recent years, prompting Outi to write:
A year ago, I was getting increasingly frustrated with the divisive rhetoric and attacks on the democratic institutions in our country. I didn’t want to be a silent accomplice to what was happening and so, for the first time in my life, I looked for a team with whom I could “do my bit” of political work to help make things “right-er.” I liked the Coffee Party’s commitment to civility, unity, and integrity while working to improve things in our country, and I’ve been a Coffee Party volunteer since.
Through common appreciation of our diverse perspectives, a recognition of the sanctity of our different paths towards political engagement, and a profound desire to discuss the best policies for our country over a friendly cup of coffee, Coffee Party USA continues to build bridges to heal our nation. As long-time volunteer and director, J’nene, describes:
Life is a team sport. I am a team player.
I first ran in to Coffee Party at the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear in Washington, DC in October 2010. I was there out of my upset and frustration over far-right vitriol that appeared to be nurtured by some kind of sinister strategy to divide us, thwarting the very American ingenuity that could solve the problems we all faced.
What I learned that day was that Coffee Party, less than a year old then, was formed by folks that felt the same way I did. And they had a strategy to support all of us in our quest to understand and confront the challenges we face in the American political process today. Within months I became a member and within a few more months I was, and remain, a volunteer.
I found my team.
Although we’re ten years in, there’s still so much to do. We need your voice. Our country needs your voice. Are you ready to join the team? Consider volunteering today! While you’re at it, support our work by becoming a member of Coffee Party USA and help us mend the divides that poison our political system. We need your help more than ever.