There has been a lot of social media discussion, outrage, and defensiveness about a number of issues Coffee Party members have posted. We like the discussion but we offer words of caution to those who may jump to conclusions.
The Coffee Party appreciates the opportunity to bring issues to the attention of members. Some members and interested followers give us words of encouragement while others threaten to cancel their memberships. The internal debate among Coffee Party officers includes, “Should we have posted (published) that article or opinion?”
Well, the answer is sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no”. The idea of self-censoring or vetting what is posted is repugnant. Since civility is supposed to be programmed in our DNA, we have to necessarily keep an eye open for intentionally inflammatory publications. We prefer to bring issues to the “lights” of day. Please note the plural word “lights”. The Coffee Party wants many lights to shine on issues with each light being a different perspective. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with a perspective but I want the dialogue. That's how I (we) learn. Based upon what I learn, I'll act consistent with my conscience, get involved, and vote accordingly. That's what I love about the Coffee party. That's why I'm honored to be a Director.
Let me give an illustration with a question recently asked of the Coffee Party. A person respectfully asked, “What is the Coffee Party's position on the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution?”. That's the amendment that concerns the right to bear arms. It's volatile. There are people passionate about the subject.
The Coffee Party's official position is …...we want to talk about it. My personal opinion is that we have to respect the Constitution but not just clauses from it. The entire 2nd Amendment reads as follows:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It is clear that lines three and four says we have the right to keep and bear arms but that is not a stand-alone sentence. It is a clause that accompanies the clause in lines one and two. The full sentence seems to tie the rights of keeping and bearing arms to the responsibilities of a well-regulated militia. They do not exist independently.
So how do you reconcile it? Should government have a progressive licensing and training process that coincides with the power of the weapon? Should authority to bear various arms be tied to state government militias? Should there be on-going training and responsibilities associated with bearing arms and being in a militia? I could make a case.
Simultaneously, there are those who believe weapons technology has stripped the intent of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was written when all weapons were single-loading muskets and pistols. It would be hard to fathom a homeowner in the 1790s would have invoked the 2nd Amendment to own a cannon (the only other weaponry available). These people believe gun rights have gone too far when one person can own multiple weapons without restrictions on firepower. The menace of an unregulated gun-wielder upon general society would far exceed the concepts that we are all created equal or the social contract of one man, one vote. Some of these advocates say we should eliminate all private gun ownership.
What's my position? I need to learn more. I want to hear from both sides. When both sides engage in a constructive dialogue, I honestly believe gun rights will be preserved and responsible gun owners will trust society enough to leave their guns at home. But, please, tell me what you think.
What's the Coffee Party's official position on this issue? We don't have one. However, I am so thankful the Coffee Party and our social media, our newsletter, our conversations, and our mission is to provide a forum for the many “lights” to shine. Je suis Charlie. Join us.