The 2019 Womenâ€™s March was an event I looked forward to, planned for, and attended with jubilation. My memories are both endearing and empowering. A month later, I am still basking in the joy of it all.
But there were bumps along the way.
Prior to the March here were concerns about â€œflawsâ€ in the politics of Women's March on Washington leadership. Fair enough. Questions need to be asked. Answers need to be given.
But ultimately I had to ask myself, â€œwhy should accusations about one of these people stop me?â€ I didnâ€™t march for them. I marched for me. I marched for all of us. I march for equality, equity, and justice.
Every community in my sphere dealt with the pre-march upset differently. Some decided the benefits exceeded the liability of participation. Some proceeded but disconnected from the original organization. Portland, OR redirected the January energy to a MLK event and promised a Womenâ€™s March in March, International Womenâ€™s Month.
But for me, â€œbag the whole thingâ€ was not an option.
I was pleased to watch folks work through the issues as a community. I donâ€™t jump too quickly to media buzz, and I really donâ€™t dance to denigrating talking points. I have been studying propaganda for some time, especially the last two years, so I am always looking for the emotional hook that is powerful enough to lead me astray or to underscore some existing (often hidden) prejudice in order to fuel an irrational response.
So, I was very impressed with the adult problem solving I witnessed in the real world (as opposed to social media or cable TV).
Then there was the shutdown.
I had originally planned to return to DC, getting together with the women I had marched with in 2017. But the fact that TSA workers and air traffic controllers were furloughed and working without pay stopped me cold. It felt like a violation of my moral standards to be a part of the reason they were singled out for this double whammy of abuse.
I cancelled my trip to DC and chose to march with my friends and family (including a grandson) in Bend, Oregon.
In the face of all that, it seems somehow fitting that we celebrated Dr. King the week preceding the march. His annual celebration always takes me back to the time when citizens with concerns peacefully took to the streets with signs and songs creating the opening for change.
(Click here for a protest song from the ReSistas performing an original work at the march I attended.)
As was my experience at the Womenâ€™s March in DC 2017, this yearâ€™s march was a powerful affirmation of my vision of this republicâ€™s democracy. There, and in sister marches across America, we expressed our personal outrage and embraced our collective outrage. We were reassured that we were not alone in our concerns.
And, it was not difficult to see that validation of womenâ€™s rights was validation of human rights, of a code where everybody counts or nobody counts. Dr. King would have been proud.
And what about future marches?
My outrage continues and my nation will hear my voice. I will march. I will carry my sign. I will learn new things and meet new people.
My march into the future I envision will continue. And you?
ReSistas video on Jeanene's Facebook page
Something titled â€œDignity Is the Answerâ€ would not interest as many people. Yet I know the world would be improved if dignity were our basis for living. When dignity is present, all things are possible.
Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. (Wikipedia)
In other words, we want to be respected and treated fairly.
So why is it so hard? What is it about us that defaults to competing for dominance â€” instead of honoring our humanity?
Continue reading at IVN, the Independent Voter Network here
Debilyn Molineaux is a transformation facilitator. She works with visionaries and movements in support of a new national and global social contract focused on personal dignity and sovereignty. Her work highlights the relationships between individuals, institutions and governments for conscious transformation. Debilyn works with Living Room Conversations and Bridge Alliance is Director Emerita for Coffee Party USA. She published this blog in 2018.
Jeanne was involved in the Coffee Party locally back in 2011 and would meet with others at the coffee shop to talk and find common ground, but the group disbanded after only a few meetings.Â As Jeanne became more interested in national and local affairs, it was the cultural wars and divisiveness in the country that lead her back to Coffee Party USA.
Jeanne felt the Public Relations group would be a good fit for her because of her writing background. This group is responsible for writing e-blasts and blog posts to keep our members, supporters and followers informed and to offer a variety of viewpoints.
Jeanne also joined the National Community Organizers Group because she has always been interested in the face-to-face aspect of the Coffee Party and this group provides resources and support to local groups.
Jeanne really enjoys learning about other people's ideas and how they intersect with her own. Â She likes the give and take as well as learning about othersâ€™ perspectives and finding common ground. Â In talking to others in the Public Relations group, she enjoys the connection to what she has learned and believes we should focus more on listening and storytelling rather than on just the facts. Â Jeanne believes that some people feel that facts are the answer to everything and that they just need to agree on the facts, but what she likes to write about is the way people can listen and hear each other no matter what they have to say.
So for her, volunteering also means getting to see the intersections between ideas she has and what the rest of the group is doing.
Jeanne doesnâ€™t just volunteer for the Coffee Party but is also very interested in developing and working on different models for housing for aging and seniors. Â Right now, she is focused on the idea of villages. Villages are making communities for people so they can stay in their own homes, but within a small geographical area. The concept of Villages started in Boston and Jeanne has been involved with a similar model in Portland. Â Villages are just one way to help people stay in their own homes. She is also working on shared housing for seniors as well as new models of inter-generational housing. So the ideas that she has intersect with different groups that need volunteers.
People in these villages also are engaged in community affairs and socializing with each other and finding common interests. They also can create a volunteer effort to help others do things. There is a small membership fee per month to get access to services -- contractors, rides, light housekeeping, etc. Â If you can start enough communities in different parts of town, you develop enough momentum in a certain area that you can help the disabled and elderly.
To find out more about volunteering for the Coffee Party, click here.
To find out more about starting a local Coffee Party Community, click here.
She says: "Our society is in desperate need of translators and interpreters. We need more bilingual people to be active in the public conversation, finding fresh ways to speak so others can hear. We need more optimistic people who believe in the basic goodness of humanity helping us break down barriers and build bridges..."
I was raised by conservative parents, shaped by fundamentalist churches and immersed in the worldview of the Right for the first 40 years of my life. My journey away from all that took a long time. Finding my way out of the bubble and exposing myself to people who saw the world very differently than I was a challenging and sometimes scary process. But I’m grateful. Both to be where I am today: living with much larger, more nuanced understandings AND to have gone through the process of questioning, growing, learning and changing.
I think of myself as bilingual. I can speak both Liberal and Conservative.
I’m one of countless humans who have made such journeys but it saddens me that many of my fellow Liberals seem to have forgotten their mother tongue. We are people who understand where Conservatives are coming from, not only because we have been there but also because many of our friends and family still live there. Our bilingual skills are desperately needed in these days of rancor and blame. We need to use our ability to understand their world and speak their language so that we can help build more bridges of communication........
Continue reading here: "Bilingual - Speaking Both Liberal and Conservative."
Besides Charlotte's blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics, she also maintains this Intersections Facebook page that explores those many inter-connections from a variety of perspectives. Charlotte is past president of Coffee Party USA and serves on the Board of Directors.
Our name implies that if Americans sat down and had a cup of coffee in a cafe or at a living room coffee table, we would find a spark of common ground.
Finding how we are alike (rather than focusing on our differences) requires the generosity of spirit to listen and speak with respect - be civil.Â The trend to emotionalize political conversation began in 2010 and continues today. Our membership, as well as many supporters and followers, have pledged to keep those conversations kind.
As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.This pledge is as important now as it was in 2010. Â The other essential piece is data - good data - so our ability to reason has a chance to emerge from the chaos of emotions that define politics, then and now. This drives us to seek and vet the massive amounts of information (and misinformation) available today. This drives us to the cafes and living rooms, to social media and blogs to have a cup of coffee and talk about what we have found.
$9 for Nine Years!
Say happy birthday with a donation of $9 for nine years here. Put $9.00 in the â€œOtherâ€ box. And, as always, please consider celebrating with us by joining as a member becoming a Â national volunteer, or starting a local community group in your area.
Jeanene Louden is a long time activist, Coffee Party volunteer and Board member.
Coffee Party USA
You can donate HERE at our website.
Coffee Party USA Â· PO Box 866, Corvallis, OR 97339-0866, United States
You can also keep up with Coffee Party USA on Facebook.
If it's a birthday, then there must be presents!Â I am asking my readers give a gift to Coffee Party USA by making a donation of $9.00 (or more) to match the $9.00 donation I made yesterday.Â Your donation will allow "you to be a part of the important work of Coffee Party USA as we empower and connect communities to reclaim our government for the people."Â It will go to improving our website, the new version of which Coffee Party USA debuted in October and registering people to vote with our partners TurboVote and National Voter Registration Day.Â There are municipal and some state elections coming up this year and people need to be registered and reminded to vote in them.
If donating is not enough, my readers can become a member or volunteer.Â Coffee Party USA needs people to help with all the projects listed above and then some, as we plan on doing even more to empower and connect communities to reclaim our government for the people in the future.
Once again, I am asking my readers to match my donation of $9.00.Â The other directors and I will thank you now and American democracy will thank you later!
Follow over the jump for a celebration of Irish Coffee Day.
Since I'm an environmentalist, I'm going to recycle.
Happy Irish Coffee Day!Made with strong coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and topped with a rich layer of cream, Irish coffee is recognized on January 25.
On a cold, wet day in 1942 weary travelers to the small Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland found their way to a restaurant and chef Joe Sheridan. To warm his guests, he served them hot coffee, spiked with whiskey and topped with whipped cream. The passengers asked if the beverage was Brazilian coffee. Sheridan responded that it was Irish coffee.
A travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought Irish coffee to the United States after having it at Shannon Airport.
Delaplane brought the idea to the Buena Vista Cafe on November 10, 1952. After much trial and error, sampling and a trip back to Ireland for a taste of the original, Delaplane along with Buena Vista owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg were able to replicate the delicious coffee and the method for floating the cream on top of the coffee.
Of course, with any alcoholic beverage, I will post an instruction video from Tipsy Bartender.
This year's recipe is for Nutty Irish Coffee.
The Irish coffee gets a creamy and hazelnut twist!
In addition to toasting one's good health to celebrate two coffee days in a row, remember to donate $9.00 (or more) to Coffee Party USA.
Coffee Party on!
The new year allows us to reflect on the year that was and opens a new year with potential for change. January is a month of transition.
This month, I stepped up from Vice President to President. So far, I've found my new role to be both an honor and humbling. Â I get to witness all the wonderful work being done by our members and our volunteers. I get to listen to difficult conversations that remain respectful. Â I also get to witness conversations that are not civil and need to be moderated and sometimes ended.
I love this organization and all it stands for. I look forward to continuing its mission to â€œempower and connect communities to reclaim our government for the people.â€
I first joined Coffee Party USA several years ago not because I cared about politics, government, or civility. Â I joined the Coffee Party because I love all things coffee. A friend shared the â€œJoin the Coffee Party Movementâ€ Facebook page with me, and I liked the coffee memes. Â I did not pay attention to the news articles posted on the Facebook page. I avoided commenting on any posts. Occasionally, a story from the JTCPM Facebook page would entice me to read it, but I always googled the mainstream news article.
After years of being a bystander, I decided to get involved. I started out joining several work groups because I wanted to get a variety of flavors to see if there was a fit. I was an active volunteer and then I walked away. My life with family, school, and work got too crowded. I needed to protect my time to keep my sanity. Â I went back to being a bystander.
So how did I go from delinquent volunteer to board member to president? Â Well thatâ€™s a story to tell another day. I share my beginnings with you today because I want you to know that there is not a template for leadership or activism. Â There is no magical fairy that taps people as leader, volunteer, activist, or member.
A decision today doesnâ€™t need to be the decision you make forever. We, individuals and organizations, change; we grow; we evolve.
This year, I ask you all to empower and connect communities. Â Reclaiming our government is important too, but letâ€™s first take some time to have a cup of coffee and connect.
Come share your story.
Come have a chuckle about a coffee joke.
Come join us.
There are a variety of ways to get involved. Find out more HERE
Join me in watching How to promote civility during polarized times.
Both sides of the aisle are blaming the other for the longest government shutdown in history. Keith Allred, the executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, joins CBSN to discuss how his organization specifically prepares for times like these.
As a director of the organization, I'm glad to see that someone is talking about one of the Coffee Party's pet issues as part of a solution for the longest government shutdown on record.Â May he have success with his initiative.Â As snarky as I can be here (or at least, as much as I outsource my snark to late-night comedians), I really think we need people talking with each other, not at each other to solve our problems.
I'll return to this subject on Friday to write about Irish Coffee Day and Coffee Party USA's birthday.Â In the meantime, I conclude today's entry with the Coffee Party Civility Pledge.Â May my readers join our lawmakers in trying to follow it.
*I plan on writing about the Oscar nominees this weekend.Â Stay tuned.
Follow Vince's Crazy Eddie's Motie News blog here.
Like many people, I grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic adult. I was in a constant power struggle with my step-parent and our relationship was fraught with contempt and self-righteousness. At least on my part. I felt powerless and held onto this duo of emotions as a drowning person with a lifejacket.
Self-righteousness and contempt kept me afloat. Until they threatened to sink me and my chance for happiness.
As I carried these emotions into adulthood, I used my cloak of self-righteousness to keep and hold power over others. Notably, those closest to me. My â€œloveâ€ was contingent upon obedience to my will. Lack of obedience would result in my contempt; a lack of respect. I was behaving horribly to those I loved most. But why? What was I gaining that kept the cycle going?
Yes, I went to counseling. And several weekend personal growth seminars.
And I discovered that I was â€¦OMGâ€¦ wrong.
But I was not a horrible person. My early training with an addicted and dysfunctional role model had imprinted on me a sense that if I was â€œwrongâ€ I might die. Literally, die. No wonder I fought so hard to be right and bend others to my will! I was programmed to believe it was a necessary to survive -- my payoff was survival. But I was wrong in my thinking and I didnâ€™t die. Eureka!
What I didnâ€™t realize when I was younger, was how much I gave up by clinging to my lifejacket of self-righteousness and contempt. I gave up happiness, because I was either in despair or resentful that the world wasnâ€™t as I thought it should be. I gave up trusting people because they would always disappoint me. I gave up questions and curiosity because I already knew the answers (or pretended to). I gave up love, because loving made me vulnerable. And I gave up joy, because I wanted control.
Eventually, it came down to this question -- what did I want and value more -- being right or being happy?
The choice was really that simple....Continue reading Debilyn's essay at the Living Room Conversations website here. Which of her practical pointers on healthy conversation have you tried?