The Tea Party movement is less than a year old but it already has competition. Its opponent is named, appropriately enough, the Coffee Party. Meetings were held over the weekend in 350 coffee shops in 44 states.
Coffee Party members say they are not in direct opposition to the mostly conservative Tea Partiers. Rather, they want to be a political movement that will spark dialogue on how to move the country forward. According to its Web site:
The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.
They are different from the Tea Baggers in one big way. While Tea Party rhetoric is inflammatory and sometimes offensive to others, they say, Coffee Partiers are asked to take this civility pledge:
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As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward 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.
Some of the issues that were discussed during the first Coffee Party Day included the economy, health care and immigration. The movement has quickly picked up steam. The Web site has gotten hundreds if thousands of hits, and a Facebook page started just a month ago already has 150,000 fans.
The next meeting is planned for March 27.
Here's video from the Coffee Party: