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From Tea to Coffee to Democracy 2.0 — My Story

Shane Brooks is a former Tea Party activist and a devoted father living in Waco, TX.  He is the founder of a Coffee Party 2.0 pilot program called Whiskey With My Coffee. Shane also publishes his own blog under the banner Whiskey With My Coffee, where he writes, "I have found that we have much more in common than we've been led to believe, once we realize we're just fellow Americans and not enemies."

by Shane Brooks 

So how did all of this get started for me?  Honestly, I got pissed off.

I lost my job right in the beginning of the economic collapse because of an unscrupulous corporate buyout and restructuring. We lost our home about 6 months later and had to sell off everything and move in with family.

There is nothing harder for a man than losing everything and not being able to provide for his wife and child. It's devastating actually, and my wife and I had some rough times due to the financial hardship, instability and my new political delusions of grandeur.  I believed that if I screamed loud enough, somebody would hear me and it would make a real difference.

My first venture into political activism was to join the Tea Party movement but, after devoting massive amounts of my time, I realized I disagreed with the divisive message and direction some of the leaders were promoting.  What I learned from my time with the Tea Party is that I would rather reach out across the political spectrum and focus on issues and dialogue that unify the country, rather than focusing on things that divide us.

I am not ashamed of my time with the Tea Party.  All I really did was speak from the heart and stand up for what I thought was right.  Admittedly, at times, I was consumed by emotions of anger and true, heartfelt sadness.  Sometimes, it clouded my better judgment and made it more difficult to remain humble. Yes, from time to time I gave in to kneejerk reactions, emotions and my own hypocrisies too.  I'm just like you, I'm human. 

(If you are curious, please read my original, long-winded rant, from back when my blog was called Operation Pitchfork.)

My differences with the Tea Party started when I began to question the leadership and when I began speaking of uniting around a more inclusive and open idea for a real grassroots movement for American unity.  I was banned for "causing problems."  By "causing problems" they meant presenting facts and arguments they couldn't intelligently rebut.

Once I was banned, it started an avalanche of people getting banned and kicked off of their online network.

I've had the opportunity to build several bridges across the political divide. I personally watched influential leadership within other movements, both conservative and liberal; take the easy way out by remaining faithful to the status quo of our corporate ruled and divisive establishment.

It's easy to lash out at somebody or something.  It's harder to get together for lunch and just talk to each other like fellow Americans.  Even if at the start we have to pretend that we care about other people's problems, by listening we can start to build a foundation for developing personal and neighborly relationships again. Those who have corrupted our system actually benefit from an ignorant electorate and a nation divided.  We must not allow this to continue.  Listening to one another — rather than to paid political entertainers who teach us to shout over one another — is the first step toward a more grounded sense of duty to our fellow man.

Close to 100 people have joined Whiskey With My Coffee since this blog was posted with Coffee Party USA.  I'd like to thank everyone that has joined, and invite those who haven't.  Going forward, I'll do my best to help identify the lies, misconceptions of the media and politicians through an honest and non-partisan perspective. If you realize only one thing from my writings, I hope it's this. Realize that we (the people) are all we have.

Please join me in praying and reaching out to your fellow countrymen regardless of political or religious ideology.

Good things are beginning to happen.  People from all walks of life are beginning to stand up, come forward and take action.  It’s time that we all recognize that while we may have some trivial differences; we remain neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, and countrymen.  Let's refuse to be divided by unscrupulous entities who seek only profit and power.

Let's inspire others to shed their apathy, get involved, to take a stand and make a real difference.  My goals are to expose corruption in the deepest parts of all institutions of our government and to challenge everyone to step out of their comfort zones and to challenge themselves to do more.  When firefighters fight fires, they aim for the base that fuels the fire.  If you aim for only the flames, the fire will continue to burn.  My goal is to build a relationship with my countrymen who are committed to getting the fire under control and putting it out.

"Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of any help except by being kind, generous, and patient." 

—Henry Miller