When I registered as an Independent, I did so because I didn't want to be affiliated with the Republican party anymore, but neither did I want to be a Democrat. I differ significantly enough with each party's platform that I refused to let either one count me among their ranks.
I suppose I could have registered as a Libertarian -- their platform seems to mirror my views most closely -- but I'm hesitant to join forces with either Bob Barr or Ron Paul. On the other hand, a search for "Independent Party" returns a range of wildly varying results -- not unlike the variation between views of candidates who've run as Independents.
When the Tea Party movement sprang up, I identified with their opposition to the bailouts of Wall Street and the Big 3 automakers. I understood the reasons for the banking bailout, but I was angry about it nonetheless (especially after the reports of post-bailout bonuses and retreats). Dissatisfaction with the fiscal policies of both the previous administration and the current administration is one viewpoint I share with all varieties of Tea Party adherents.
But that's where my support of the Tea Party movement ends. The increasing social conservatism of the Republican Party appears to have translated to the Tea Party movement (and that's what drove me away from the GOP). Where the Tea Party stands on social issues is "murky," according to CBS News Political Hotsheet:
Some members of the movement, like the Tea Party Nation, believe social issues are a defining characteristic. Others, like the Tea Party Patriots, want to focus on economic and governance issues and not wade into the social policy debates.
We are looking for men and women who serve or wish to serve in government with these qualities: honesty, integrity, intelligence, truth-seeking, believes in democracy, loyal to constituents, a problem-solver, can work as part of a team, and productive. After we hire or rehire them in November, they must work hard to advance civil rights and fight like hell for working class and middle class interests.
He or she must support job creation, fiscal responsibility, health care reform, immigration reform, climate change legislation, & financial regulatory reform to protect consumers (and prevent another economic meltdown like the one we saw in 2008).
Republican or Democrat, coffee or tea -- it's clear that there's great unrest among voters. Grassroots, bottom-up efforts are lauded, but eventually leaders must emerge. The Tea Party movement has been weakened in the eyes of moderates and Independents by the attention it's attracted from GOP lawmakers and right-leaning media outlets. The Coffee Party has received similar criticisms already because its founder volunteered on the Obama campaign.
In spite of the enthusiasm behind them and the dissatisfaction that provoked them, I expect that neither the Tea Party nor the Coffee Party will evolve into a viable third party. But I do believe they serve a valuable purpose in spurring reform. From ThisNation.com:
One or both of the two major parties is bound to "steal" their issues, incorporate them into their platforms and absorb their supporters into their ranks…In American political history, third parties have served the important purpose of refocusing the two major political parties on issues they have ignored or dealt with ineffectively.
Fiscal responsibility figures prominently in the discussions led by both the Tea Party and the Coffee Party -- not surprising in light of the vast government spending (which, by the way, didn't begin with the current administration). Republicans and Democrats alike have been playing fast and loose with our money, even rich people's money, for too long.
While Sarah Palin's relationship with the Tea Party is enough to dissuade me from participating in that movement, I plan to attend a local Coffee Party meeting on March 13 - National Coffee Party Day - to learn more. To find a meeting near you, visit the Coffee Party website.
Julie is a former Air Force officer and professional project manager turned web writer. She spent four years at the Pentagon and five years in New York City, and her suburban life in Colorado seems pastoral by comparison. She's no political pundit, but she is an objective thinker in a sea of partisan propagandists. She writes for The Mom Slant, Cool Mom Picks, and is co-founder of The Parent Bloggers Network.
"Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways." -- Samuel McChord Crothers
The views, opinions and information expressed in articles and blog posts published on imperfectparent.com and all subdomains are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Imperfect Parent or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of any entity of, or affiliated with, Imperfect Parent. The Imperfect Parent
is designed for entertainment
purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical, health,
legal, or financial advice from a professional.
of material from any of Imperfect Parent's pages without written
permission is strictly prohibited.