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June 26, 2007

The Politics of Coffee

Katie Nash

Adam Schultz, a member of the Democratic Central Committee, shares my passion for local politics and coffee.

Adam prefers cream in his coffee and two packets of sugar. Me? I prefer my coffee black.

Adam seeks to improve his cup of coffee. He looks for ways to alter it and mold it to his liking. The status quo isn't good enough for him; he sees the cup of coffee as an opportunity for change.

Black coffee, on the other hand, is coffee in its natural state. Additives distract it from its purpose - caffeine into the system in a delicious way. Coffee isn't supposed to be sweet or tan-colored. Why morph it into something it was never meant to be?

The upcoming 2008 election has everyone thinking in terms of Democrat and Republican, focusing on what divides us. Democrats are wrangling over which presidential candidate best defines their agenda-for-change in 2008. They are looking for the perfect candidate that represents what they view as a complete shift from the Bush administration: an anti-war, pro-environment, and pro-universal healthcare candidate.

Whether joining Hillaryland or John Edwards' vanity camp, Democrats are attempting to decide just how much sugar they want with their coffee - how much social change can one candidate promise?

Republicans, on the other hand, seek to return to the principles that have won seven of the last 10 presidential elections for the party's candidate. In the meantime, they want to demonstrate a distance from the current administration, as well as come to a compromise on the social issues that are popular with their voters.

The entrance of former Tennessee Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson - and inevitable comparisons to Ronald Reagan - illustrate this mentality. No one knows exactly what the senator stands for, but his ability to act presidential gives voters a glimpse of what they've been missing. Republicans are looking for that basic cup of delicious black coffee. They haven't been able to decide what Republican principles are, however, so it may take some time to get back to the basics.

Among our differences as Democrats and Republicans, there are commonalities that we find that trump the ideologies that separate us. For example, Adam and I both love coffee. We both prefer our local coffee shops to conglomerates. On hot days we both prefer iced coffee over hot coffee.

Most importantly, despite our differences in opinion as to what makes good coffee - is that it is still coffee. We agree on the basics, such as location and temperature, and its enough to get us to the local coffee shop. Where we go from there may highlight differences, but the logistics don't change.

Local politics are founded on principle similarities rather than abstract differences. The time, location and issue at hand are fundamental. Elections such as the upcoming 2008 presidential balloting may have voters thinking about ways Frederick citizens are different. Luckily, a closely following local election may bring things back to a healthy center. The elections in Frederick City in 2009 promises to do just that.

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