This morning, I appeared on the Don Weeks Show on News Talk Radio 810 WGY to talk a little bit about the Coffee Party. The movement has grown from a small Facebook comment to nearly 120,000 members as of tonight.
Tomorrow, the movement will have it's National Coffee House Day as the nationwide kick-off to reboot our democracy through citizen initiated civil discourse, with the mission of getting our democracy out of gridlock and back on track to express the collective will of the people.
But enough extra typing. You can listen to the interview right here in streaming MP3. Or, you can read the transcript below!
You know, it was kind of funny transcribing my own interview. I feel kind of like Hunter Thompson, just without all the alcohol and guns. Here's what I said if you couldn't get your computer to listen. You'll have to imagine the opening riff to U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" for the audio intro bed (an excellent choice, Justin!)
Don Weeks: I'm Don Weeks WGY morning news. You've probably heard about the Tea Party. Oh, they've been generating all kinds of headlines over the past couple of years. And now there is a new party called the Coffee Party. And they have a national kickoff day scheduled for, oh, lemme see here, this coming uh, it looks like, uh, tomorrow as a matter of fact. Well, the man who would know would be Colin Abele. Good morning!
Colin Abele (aka Soundpolitic): Good morning Don! How are you?
DW: Doin' terrific! I'm kinda curious about the Coffee Party. First of all, how did it start.
CA/SP: It actually started based off of one accidental comment on FAcebook and it has since grown to - I'll betcha it's about 110,000 Facebook members now today because it's been growing and growing exponentially since this lady from Washington, Anabell Park, just posted a Facebook comment. She was a little bit upset with the Tea Party and said that it didn't really represent her. She saw a lot of anger and animosity and adversity there. But still a kind of, definitely a love for America and a need to be engaged. So she was frustrated that, you know, there really wasn't a place for someone of her viewpoint to take the same kind of action that the Tea Party is taking in getting civicly engaged. Um...so she just posted a little rant on FAcebook and said we need to do something to counter this. Let's start a coffee party or a latte or chai party or a Red Bull party.
CA/SP: Then one person said yeah lets do that then another one did then a whole bunch of people did. And they now have a website, CoffeePartyUSA.com, and there's over, I think there's over 300 of these things gonna be happening tomorrow.
DW: How do, now, how do you differ from the Tea Party?
CA/SP: Well, you know, the more I speak with - because I went to a Tea Party a couple of weeks ago. And I've actually got a letter to the editor in the Altamont Enterprise this week...
CA/SP: ...on respectable newstands all over the capital district. Um...and I said to myself, "You know, I...the more I talk with these Tea Party people, the more I realize we have a lot in common." Because I"m very progressive and the Tea Party, of course, is very conservative. But the way the media portrays it is there's two different camps and we really are, you know, I think it's time to realize that we're one nation on a person to person level. Because, my little saying is that "We The People?"
CA/SP: It means "You the Person." And what I"ve noticed with the Tea Party is that there's a lot of anger at government, there's a lot of fear about big government and even a hatred of the idea of the government doing things for people. But the government, in a democratic republic, it's an expression of our collective will. And if you're angry at the government or fearful of the government, since you're the government, you're really hating on yourself right there.
DW: How do you see, now...what kind of feedback are you getting from folks from the Tea Party? Do you find that theres...You kind of mentioned that you thought there was, like, you know, common ground here where you could both find, hey look, I disagree with you on this but I agree with you on that, y'know, where's the common ground between these two different groups?
CA/SP: Well...it's hard to say. It's on so many issues. And that's all we're going to do at this Coffee Party at Uncommon Grounds at 2 pm tomorrow. And there's one at Starbucks at noon on North Pearl Street, I believe. Um, we're just going to talk with people of all different stripes, whoever shows up, over coffee, nice and civil. But we're finding common ground on, like, basically the gridlock in Washington. Y'know, these people are our representatives. And we are their employers. The thing is...we have to take responsibility for that ourselves, Don. We can't just sit back and say, y'know, why isn't Washington doing anything? It's kind of reflection of, y'know...you ever been in a coffee house and you see one guy who's really off the right and another guy who's really off the the left...
DW: Yup! [Laughs]
CA/SP: ...and they're just yelling and hooting and hollering at each other...
DW: [Laughs] Yeah... [Laughs]
CA/SP: ...nobody leaves getting anything done. But the more I talk with the Tea Party folks that I met in nice calm conversation, instead of, you know. A lot of these Tea Parties have speakers that talk at you...
CA/SP: ...instead of speaking with you. Y'know, if the Constitutional Convention was just George Washington presiding and talking at all those other guys, nothing would have gotten done.
DW: Wouldn't have got very far.
CA/SP: It was all based on compromise. And these guys, back in 1787, they had a lot of very, very different opinions. Read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers and you'll see this. But, they set some ground rules for civil discourse and they said, okay, I'm gonna give this up if you give that up. And I think if we start doing that as citizens - and also if we start voting as citizens because this is off-year election and...
DW: Might get...
CA/SP: ...turnout's really really low...
DW: ...might get something done. Might get somewhere.
CA/SP: I think that will finally be represented for us in Congress. And so we're going to organize...
DW: Colin, Colin, I gotta jump in here cuz we're running out of time. Where's the Coffee Party USA here locally?
CA/SP: Uh, here locally I've started the Albany County chapter and we will meet at 2 pm tomorrow at Uncommon Grounds on Western Avenue in Albany.
DW: I wish you well in finding, uh, common grounds.
DW: Thanks so much for being with us this morning!
CA/SP: Thank you very much Don. Good luck to you.
DW: Thank you, Colin Abele. 6:56, Don Weeks, WGY Morning News.
I have to thank Don Weeks and the producer, Justin Fiet, at WGY once again for this incredible experience. I've called in to local talk radio shows before (btw, they just fired my favorite local DJ, Al Roney and replaced him with Glenn Beck...guess which one I liked better and accepted my calls regardless of my opposing views?) but this was the first time the radio station actually called me, a lowly 26-year old unemployed paralegal and political blogger.
I think that just goes to show how big the Coffee Party Movment is going to prove itself to be tomorrow afternoon. See you there!