By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Blabbermouths: Buzz is thinking about starting our own political faction. Call it the Beer Party Movement. In it, people gather at bars, drink beer and watch sports on television. Nobody talks. In fact, if anybody so much as whispers a word about politics, the rest of the Beer Party members will be required to crack their beer bottles over that person's head.
Why? Because we in the Beer Party sincerely believe it's time for everybody—right, left and center—to shut up.
If you disagree, maybe you were one of the people who came out this weekend for one of a dozen local Coffee Party USA kickoff events. Billed as a response to the slogan-shouting and sign-waving of the Tea Party, the Coffee Party movement grew out of a Facebook page started by Annabel Park—a Houston-raised filmmaker now based in Washington—to rally support for working with government for change, rather than against it. The events Buzz caught in Garland, Dallas and Arlington each drew 20 to 30 people, and were among more than 350 meetings around the country.
"It's getting to the point where you can't talk to people about things," said Garland's Liz Walley, explaining why she'd come. "Maybe this is a way to talk about things that matter without getting World War III."
A "civility pledge" helped show that you really can talk politics without a Tea Party breaking out. All of which made it that much more fun when a guy at the table in Garland tipped his Debra Medina hat and introduced himself as a Tea Party mole. People around the table quietly bristled at the tone of Robert Linenweber's policy suggestions, like teaching the Federalist Papers in school.
In practice, of course, the Coffee Party meetings were more Democratic rally than random political cross-section, but the biggest talking point of all was on the virtues of talking—as if a cuppa joe and a little chat is all that's needed to bridge the gap between a true-blue liberal and some guy wearing a minuteman costume with a copy of the latest Glenn Beck book under his arm. Right-o.
Linenweber told Buzz that his problem with both the Tea and Coffee Party approaches is that they're calls to action without much follow-through. "They're gripe sessions," he said. "Their answer is to have the government do it. My group's answer is to get rid of the government. So both sides get together, and they talk too much."
We agree, Mr. Linenweber. In fact, we'd like to buy you a beer and prove that a little silence and alcohol is all that's needed to bridge the divide between us. Buzz is sure we'd get along just fine at a Beer Party meeting—unless, of course, you're one of those freaks who drink light beer.