In March, I did something I'd not done since the late 1980s...got off my rear and decided to do more than give money to causes I believed in. As an individual with an advanced degree in public administration whose first career was in municipal management, I'm a strong believer that government is not evil. It's not the problem. It's part of the solution, and we are government - or should be. Tired of all the yelling that passes for political discourse these days, I decided to join the Coffee Party Movement. That was the easy part.
It's incredibly easy to press a Facebook button and join a cause, be part of a movement, or proclaim your allegiance to something or somebody. It's a lot more time-consuming - and frustrating - to accomplish something. And with a mandate as amorphous as cooperation and participation in government so that it expresses our collective will and addresses our challenges in a civil and positive manner, it's all the more difficult. How to translate a wish for "good government" into action?
I attended a planning meeting in March, then one of the hundreds of local meetings held throughout the country. The planning meeting made the local news and another of the local meetings did as well. Though attendance at the first meeting was high, and even higher for the second, for today's meeting there were a grand total of six of us in attendance...and as far as I know it was the only group to meet in Dallas county. While the movement remains strong and vital as near as Fort Worth, it's died in Dallas, and I'm one of those committed to reviving it. I decided my skill set would be best used in communicating with Dallas area members via this blog and through a Twitter account I've yet to set up.
This will be an experiment, for me, and for those of you who decide to participate by reading this blog, posting to the local or national Facebook page, or deciding to attend or even lead a local meeting in the future. I've included the movement's official mission statement, a link for those who'd like to sign the civility pledge (it's a jump link because the pledge is hosted on the national site...click it and a new browser window will open, allowing you to toggle back and forth), and activated sharing and subscribing abilities for those who are interested. Next will come links, and then the blog structure should be complete, and the real hard work of communicating will begin.
That's where you come in. As a grassroots organization, we are all responsible for determining our direction, but at the same time, many policy issues are time-sensitive, which means that among movement members locally and nation-wide, we need coordination. I'll be up front and share that the topic of most interest to me is campaign finance reform in light of the January's Supreme Court decision that under the First Amendment, Congress may not bar corporations and unions from using their own money to make independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates for office. But right now banking reform is number one on the to-do list because of on-going congressional hearings. In fact, there's a documentary film showing at the Angelika Mockingbird in the very near future that we hope you'll consider attending.
Look forward to more from me on that in upcoming days, but please, please, please, share your interests as well. Comment at will. I've blogged, run discussion lists, forums, and websites since the mid-1990s and feel well able to keep my ego in check. I plan to be a two-way conduit of information more than anything else, and that won't work without your participation.
Sunday, May 9: @dallascoffee set up and Twitter widget added to the right column of this page. Please spread the word about the blog and the Twitter feed...feel free to use the "share this" links following each entry and the right column. Look for some substance Tuesday.