Would you like to volunteer?
Volunteer of the month: Jane Colgan
We have chosen to use a section of the newsletter each month to tell you about our different volunteer opportunities in the Coffee Party and introduce some of many volunteers. It’s your chance to make a difference. We have many volunteer opportunities and this month we’re going to introduce you to one of our wonderful volunteers. Without volunteers, we would get very little done.
So let’s dive right in and I will tell you about one of our volunteers here at the Coffee Party. Her name is Jane Colgan and Jane lives in the frosty suburbs of Detroit. A native of the Big Apple, Jane doesn’t seem to mind the brisk winters and loves the seasons.
Jane became attracted to the Coffee Party while working with the League of Women Voters where a friend was following our page and liking our message. She likes the transpartisanship and symbolistic aspect of civility and reason. Jane became more and more involved as she read what we, at Coffee Party, are trying to do: bring civility into politics to better our country and planet.
Currently Jane is working in the Campaigns and Actions group, which is responsible for member involvement in campaigns that meet our end state goals. She enjoys the involvement and being able to participate and have her voice heard. Her favorite thing thus far in her time volunteering is her involvement on the Board Development Group, affectionately know as our Leadership Work Group and is responsible for overseeing elections, helping to recruit and provide orientation for our Board members.
Jane loves to spend her spare time playing with her Boxer, Chance, and, of course, spoiling her grandchildren. Like the other volunteers I’ve had a chance to speak to, Jane is yet another example of the nice down to earth people we tend to attract here at the Coffee Party. So if you want have you voice heard and try to make a difference, come join us!
by Charlie Tucker
Since that awful day in 2001, I’ve been very clear about one thing. Fear is a weapon. Those who seek to control us, the people, wield fear as a weapon to control our reaction, our attention and pervert our American values. But what is fear, really?
When our survival mode kicks in due to physical threat, fear is real and grounded. It may keep us alive. I’ve felt fearful around violent or intoxicated people...a remnant of childhood when my survival seemed at risk. But this is a very different fear from imagining a violent incident or out-of-control situation. This type of fear is ungrounded. It is based in our minds by focusing on bad things that MIGHT happen. And those who use fear as a weapon are only too glad to help us paint fearful images, create panic and then seize control as the “hero” who will save us.
What should we do with this ungrounded fear? Bob Newhart delivers simplistic advice on ungrounded fears in this clip. I often find truth in humor.
What Mr. Newhart doesn’t cover is the replacement or antidote to fear. What works for me is practicing courage. This is the exercise of taking action, despite fear. Action eliminates fear and restores our sense of control. We are no longer “at the mercy” of “whatever may happen.”
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
How do you conquer your fear? Do you make plans “just in case?” Do you observe what you are thinking and treat fear like a weed… pulling out those thoughts and planting something nourishing? I’d love to hear stories from you about times when you’ve conquered fear and exhibited courage.
Our country needs us to be courageous. Our communities and families need to be courageous.
Yesterday, the voters in Maine did something incredible.
They stood up to the special interests, lobbyists, even their own Governor and loudly proclaimed, “Enough is enough!”
With over 55% of the vote, Mainers passed the Question 1 ballot initiative, reclaiming democracy from those who wish to corrupt it.
Stronger requirements for transparency and disclosure of all political spending, increased penalties for those who break the law, and the restoration of the state’s public financing system will soon be the law of the land in Maine.
This victory sends a clear message to the rest of the country that when citizens work together, we can accomplish great things. Restoring the democratic process from the bottom up will not be accomplished overnight, but today we can look to the residents of Maine and be inspired by what they have achieved.
It requires months of tireless work to qualify a measure for the statewide ballot and mount a serious campaign in support of it. In this instance the reward for that work is well deserved and the group that led the charge for Question 1 was Mainers for Accountable Elections. We are proud to have been a part of the coalition that supported their important work and thank them again for their efforts.
Congratulations to the citizens of Maine!
Now onto the other 49 states! The Patriotic Millionaires are ready to fight alongside you as we work together to build a democracy that works for all Americans, not just a few wealthy individuals and corporations.
Thanks for all you do,
The Patriotic Millionaires
Tim Danahey, Coffee Party USA Director of Public and Member Relations
It is a privilege to serve on the Coffee Party USA Board of Directors. Never have I seen a group of people express divergent opinions in such a civil and contructive manner. It is quite remarkable and, to be a part of it, has been an opportunity for me to expand my thoughts.
One of the recent issues we've discussed his how to regard and respond to the many emails and voice mails we receive. Some suggest we should have a form letter replying “Thank you for sharing your thoughts.” It would have been quick. It would have worked, It would have been horribly wrong.
We discussed it. We weighed the various merits of saving time from our busy schedules. We considered the uneven quality of the mail we receive. We finally settled that answering as many quality inquiries as possible is the right thing to do.
If someone is sincere enough to make a civil inquiry about our policies, our positions, our objectives, or our plans, then that person deserves an equally thoughtful response. Our hope is that the response begins a dialogue and encourages people to join us, be active in civic engagement, and help grow our mission. It takes quite a bit of time but you, the member, the reader, the listener, and the citizen should have that right from us and every elected official accountable to you. That letter you write deserves a response and, if anyone discounts you by giving you a form letter or no answer, then demand better. Get loud and get active. Do your research and hold the facts in front of everyone until you get the consideration you've earned.
So, please, write to us, call us, or email. Get the response that continues the dialogue. If you value civil dialogue, then join the Coffee Party USA and be a part of the revolution – the revolution of holding our politicians accountable.
Bobby Rodrigo, Coffee Party USA Director of Internet Infrastructure
One of the best parts of what we do at the Coffee Party is to introduce to the public new ideas, new people and new ways to communicate. Coffee Party Radio with its diverse and informative lineup is now expanding even further. Lunch with Louden, which broadcasts every Thursday at noon Pacific has some new friends joining it. First, Jeanene welcomed new co-host Loki King to her show and the response has been fantastic. Now, Mark Gilbert and his new show "Conscious Bridge Radio" joins Lunch with Louden and twice a month Living Room Conversations takes over. Rounding out a new expanded Lunch with Louden, offering the Coffee Party USA audience unique and diverse perspectives on information and dialog with a view to making our society a better place.
Mark Gilbert, my fellow board member, is a wonderful spiritual man and like all of us at Coffee Party USA, his spirituality is inclusive not exclusive. His writings, seen every Monday at 7:00 AM Eastern on the main Coffee Party Facebook page, as well as on his own website, brings about a positive display of how a person's own spiritual path opens doors for discussion instead of accusation and attack.
Living Room Conversations expands discussion in the "coffee party" way. It also takes "conversation" to another level. LRC is modeled to remind us what it meant when we use to listen to each other instead of speaking at each other. In a polarized society which includes a dysfunctional political climate, a mainstream media that enhances it, and, communities that are lost in it, LRC guides us back to the place where we listen to our neighbors no matter who they vote for.
We will be introducing a new Coffee Party Radio show next Wednesday November 11. Stay tuned!!
Charlie Tucker, Coffee Party USA Newsroom Volunteer
We have chosen to use a section of the newsletter each month to tell you about our different volunteer opportunities in the Coffee Party. It’s your chance to make a difference. We have many volunteer opportunities and this month I’ve decided to start with the group I started with and that would be the Newsroom.
What I do everyday is go through news articles and find things we feel would be of interest to Coffee Partiers and what we feel other people in would be interested in knowing. Some of the volunteers are also bloggers that post original content for review and approval and then those are posted to our Facebook pages.
The Newsroom is responsible for generating and distributing content mostly relevant in some manner to our core values throughout all of the CPUSA properties that comprise, but are not limited to, our main Facebook page, regional pages, issue pages, and and CPUSA blogs on our main and alternate websites. This group is also responsible for moderating our Facebook page.
If you love journalism, fact-checking and bringing awareness to the issues, this is the group to join. If you fancy yourself a writer and have something to say about American politics or society and can do so civility then you can and are encouraged to submit blogs for publication on our website and Facebook pages.
Our volunteers join weekly teleconference calls and meet up between calls in the dedicated Facebook Pages to discuss how things are going and have a chance to meet and talk to other group members and volunteers.
Having a chance to get involved in the political process and have your voice heard is what we strive for here at the Coffee Party. We want to civilly engage others in the most important issues of our time. The more people we have the louder our voice becomes. This is our ultimate goal, is to have a voice that can be heard by our politicians. We know from history that a small organized band of citizens can affect change.
We can do it, but we need your help. So sign up today at www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer and be on your way to becoming an activist.
Jeanene Louden, Coffee Party USA Director & Treasurer
If you are a member of Coffee Party USA, thank you. Our all- volunteer, grassroots movement operates solely on the generosity of people like you: no big money, no sugar daddy, just good people like yourself.
If you are considering becoming a member, please join now.
November is a special blip on the membership timeline for three reasons.
The presidential election is just one year away. Our members will be direct Coffee Party USA efforts to support an election cycle worthy of this republic’s democracy.
Member month comes complete withthank you gifts!
Candidates for the Board of Directors are recruited from folks who have volunteered for at least six months before the elections in June. All volunteers are members, so all potential candidates need to become members and volunteers soon!
Curious? Click and Join! Be a member. Be a volunteer. Be a leader.
Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party USA President
My working life is dedicated to bringing people of various backgrounds and experiences together to have meaningful conversations. For me, this is my contribution to our country, because I see the possibility of responsible governance where people are nice to each other. People who like each other are more likely to be respectful. I’ve experienced and witnessed the transformational power of dialogue..where people learn to like one another. And I’ve also experienced resistance from people who don’t see the value or are afraid to talk with people who are different from themselves. Using my Superpower of Curiosity, I started looking for the bridge to help us connect.
In my research, I’ve discovered that in order for dialogue to be “the best thing to do”, there is criteria to meet:
Willingness to engage in good faith,
Safety, ranging from personal to economic and
Power equity, where no one participant has “the upper hand.”
In today’s world of increasing fundamentalism, collapsing governments, climate change and mass migrations, the transformational power of dialogue was highlighted when the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In Tunisia, no single faction in the country had enough power to win and maintain governance. So there was power equity AND a need to cooperate. This NY Times article outlined how the necessary criteria was met.
Participants have commented that Tunisia was lucky in that no single group in the country was strong enough to consider enforcing its own hegemony. Unlike in Egypt, the Tunisian Army — always kept weak under Mr. Ben Ali’s dictatorship — was not in a position to take power. Nor could members of the former government, or its more democratic opponents, overthrow the Islamist-led government. (NY Times)
When the 2011 elections put The Islamist Party in power, their proposals for a new constitution was met with wide resistance and weakened their power. Instead of cracking down on protesters, they agreed to cede power and agreed to a peaceful transition. This created the safety (free from fear of violent reprisals) that was needed for dialogue to work.
An Islamist party, Ennahda, won the most votes the next year in Tunisia’s first free parliamentary elections, but its proposal for a new constitution that would weaken women’s status as equal to men, among other changes, drew widespread protests. The assassination of two opposition politicians in 2013 led to calls for the Ennahda-led government to step down, and by the end of the year it had agreed to a timetable for a democratic transition, becoming the only Islamist-led government created during the Arab Spring to cede power willingly. (NY Times)
But we should not rest on these laurels. The climate for dialogue will always need willing partners, safety and power equity. Maintaining this balance while deepening relationships means a better world for us all. And violence will always threaten it. We need to do our part to keep dialogue possible. Sometimes, our willingness needs to be non-negotiable.
In a Facebook video, President Beji Caid Essebsi called the award a triumph of negotiation over violence. “Tunisia has no other solution but dialogue,” he said. “We are facing a war against terrorism, and we can’t win unless we stay together. (NY Times)
The road to peace travels through dialogue. May we all be stewards to keep the peace...and the criteria needed for dialogue.
Tim Danahey, Coffee Party USA Director of Public and Member Relations
In the year 2000, Robert Putnam wrote a book entitled “Bowling Alone”. The book contains data from twenty-five years of surveys and trends about American behavior. The book shows how Americans have become increasingly disconnected from each other. It tells how social institutions such as churches, clubs, recreational leagues, and even family dinners and playing games with friends are disappearing.
The book is still relevant as American socialization remains in decline. Every institution has been in decline. Union membership is down. Church attendance is in decline. Movie theater attendance is suffering. In fact, even television-watching among hundreds of channels instead of four or five has denied us opportunities to communicate about common topics.
All of this leads to a loss of social capital. Social capital is different from financial capital because social capital measures the factors that measure the quality of life and life expectancy. Financial capital measures profits and money. When we are working, playing, and discussing issues together, it is demonstrable that we live longer and we are happier. We have more social capital and we, as individuals and as a society, are richer.
Social media is not an adequate substitute for real socialization and involvement. Social media gives us a false sense that a “like” or a “share” is a suitable replacement for real participation in group activities. The false sense actually isolates ourselves from real involvement – real engagement.
The Revolutionary War's motto of “Join or Die” and Benjamin Franklin's statement, “We must hang together or, surely, we will hang separately” accurately addressed the need for people to be together and work for freedom, for justice, and even representation. Naturally, there are powerful entities who might benefit from a nation bereft of social capital. J.P. Morgan once said the equivalent of, “we must keep the people distracted and divided over silly social issues while we move our agenda steadily forward.” Concentrated financial and/or military capital will defeat social capital if people are not engaged and active – and that's how we will lose the fight.
If we are too distracted to participate, if we are too lacking individual self worth, or if we rely upon others to perform the tasks to preserve freedom and justice for us, then we will surely lose the fight for our rights – and those currently with power are okay with that result. Those currently with power will keep us distracted, keep us amused, tell us issues are too complicated, tell us we're just one person, and marginalize our voices. Those currently with power will deny us media attention and perpetuate the myth that people aren't rising to fight injustice. If we believe them, that is how we will lose the fight.
Thus far, this article has been totally defensive about how we will lose the fight. Instead, we must change the discussion to reflect how we will “win the fight” for social and economic justice. Winning the fight entails everyone – yes, everyone – being engaged in something – anything. It all counts. A book club, a political movement, a candidate, an issue, movie discussions, town hall meetings, a quilting club, a charity, Habitat for Humanity – it's all good. Just do something that increases this nation's social capital and your length and quality of life.
Join the Coffee Party USA. Volunteer with us through our many local community groups, issue groups, and media efforts. It will enable us all engage in discussions, activism, and voting to win the fight for our rights – and our career politicans and crony capitalists will hate you for it. And that's good.
Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party USA President
Remember asking questions when you were a child? Or perhaps you remember your own children asking question after question? This curiosity becomes a superpower when we allow ourselves to learn from others and perhaps, even influence our beliefs.
Here’s what I’ve learned with my superpower of curiosity:
A young woman I met on a plane was avidly pro-life. I’m pro-choice. When we shared our life experiences, I learned she had been born blind and as a result, abandoned on the streets of New Delhi. She was grateful for her life and the opportunities her adoptive family had given her. She wanted everyone to have the opportunities she felt blessed to receive. Had I not asked questions, I would have missed connecting with a phenomenal woman who was a double-major in college and wanted to be a lawyer.
A family member asked me to refrain from talking about politics...which as a political advocate is a large part of my life. My feelings were hurt! When I asked for more information, I learned that my family had two concerns. They believed we would disagree AND they felt ill-prepared to talk with me about my work or politics in general because my depth of knowledge was greater than theirs. So basically, they thought it would be an unfair fight to talk about politics. Who would want that? I offered instead to be a resource for them...someone they could call to get information. No discomfort or fighting! (Now we tease each other about shopping--or not--at Walmart!)
During a Living Room Conversation on criminal justice, I learned about the “criminal lifestyle.” A formerly incarcerated man shared his experience of choosing different life than the criminal lifestyle...and how that meant leaving behind his entire life…all family and friends, to start over. A single person, his pastor, believed in him and supported his new life. My compassion for the incredible challenges people face coming out of prison increased dramatically.
Engage your superpowers and share your stories with us. (The Superpower of Respect was featured in March 2015.)