Monday, March 01, 2010

Coffee or Tea?

So now we have a Coffee Party to oppose the Tea Party.
I wonder if this is the next stage in the virtual reshaping of politics and the political sphere that internet theorists predicted 20 years ago. Is social networking becoming a political force beyond being used by the existing political parties and candidates and commercial/political interests?
It's far too soon to tell, especially considering that there's evidence that the Tea Party movement has had considerable corporate push behind its self-professed grass roots populism.
It seems that the Coffee Party, for now, is a spontaneous Facebook phenomenon with no discernible ties to the Democratic Party or to corporate funds.
If that turns out to be the case, and -- a much bigger if -- if the Coffee Party exerts any actual influence on political decision making, then it might be something new under the virtual sun.
Of course, the names of these countering movements indicate their deep roots in American political history, and it is no surprise that the party of tea is the conservative one while the party of coffee is progressive. After all, coffee became the American drink of choice when tea became associated with the British and with Tories -- the conservatives of their age. While contemporary Tea Partiers want to associate themselves with the instigators of the American Revolution, the name they have laid claim to suggests that perhaps they would have been aligned with King George.
Time will tell if the Coffee Party amounts to anything more than a blip, but if it does, perhaps the choice of coffee will come to mean more than merely an alternative to tea. At the very least, the option of mochas could well underscore more racial diversity in the Coffee Party than appears evident in most pictures from Tea Party events.
On the other hand, a cursory look at the Coffee Party Facebook friends list suggests that it's fairly monochrome thus far, as well. Which may simply be because Facebook is among the "stuff that white people like."

No comments: