Jon and Stephen, we have an important announcement to share with you.
We, not we the people, not we those people, no, we a bunch of un-we-the-peoplers had previously filed an application for a rally on the Washington Mall on October 30.
That's right. Evidently you were so busy planning your rallies that you didn't notice we had already applied for a permit on the same date. What rally, you might ask? Who are we?
Not the Green Tea Party. Not the Coffee Party, either. Not the T Party (although it is tempting, with T standing for everything from Truthiness to Treason and Trillions to Triorganophosphate). We're none of the above. In all truthiness, we're not even much of a we.
Heck, we couldn't even figure out what to call our rally. The Un-We-The-Peoplers Rally for Off Shore Drilling in the Last Known Deepwater Reserves of Civil Discourse? There aren't many folks who can be funny and serious at the same time, the way you can, and we certainly couldn't manage it. So, we left our name off the rally permit application and told the Park Service we'd get back to them with a name by October 1. Imagine our positively incredulous serendipitous delight when we learned that you had come along and applied for the same date!
(What are the odds of that? Probably lower than the odds that Lipton and Starbucks are about to announce a joint venture on a new nutraceutical smoothie called Lipbucks. Leave it on your lips for a few seconds before you slurp it down and it gives you the kind of pucker people pay for.)
Which leads us to our announcement: we called the Park Service today and officially relinquished the date. It's all yours.
The funny thing is, in the process of making the decision to withdraw from the Mall, a bunch of us were talking and it came to us. Our name, that is.
The EAT Party.
Kind of like the TEA Party turned around, only better. (Turn TEA around and you get AET, the ticker abbreviation for Aetna Insurance. Who knows where Aetna stands on the whole question of the health benefits of green tea, much less those of Lipbucks.)
The EAT Party.
The Enough Already with Taxophobia Party.
The Equally Audacious Truthiness Party.
The Everyone At the Table Party.
Everyone At the Table. That seems like a solid recipe for a good party and a healthy culture.
What would it be like if we spent a little less time hurling slogans at one another and a little more time finding ways to break bread together? A little less time at Drive Thru windows and a little more time in the kitchen? We're not only driving thru for our food, we're driving thru for our politics. Lip-smacking, quick, stuff-your-face politics that fill us up quickly but leave a trail of health problems behind.
Our politics have become as salty and greasy as our food. Distrust and scapegoating are more rampant than salmonella in an egg factory. And there's no recall for infected discourse.
So, now that we've stumbled on a name and the beginnings of a platform, we need an alternate location for the first rally of the EAT Party. We've got one.
While you're on the Mall, we'll be in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, across from where the first McDonald's in Italy opened in 1986, sparking the Slow Food Movement. Instead of fighting fire with fire, we are going to fight TEA with pasta. And a little Barbera d'Alba.
We're not giving up on American politics. We're just going to get a little distance from them this time around, in a country whose politics are every bit as fractious but whose food is, well, a lot more Italian.
In a moment of seriousness, we may ask while we are there: Is the erosion of civility that is happening in America unique to us? Or maybe we should ask, are we exporting the erosion of civility around the world as surely as we exported fast food?
So many of our cultural values are eroding: civility, optimism, trust, our willingness to invest for the long term, our spirit of common purpose in building for the future. Even our ability to gather around the dinner table. It's all eroding faster than farmland in Iowa.
If we had any sense of black humor left, we'd note that the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico into which millions of gallons of oil just spewed had already been emptied of oxygen and filled with chemical run-off from the breadbasket of the world. That's one Molto Grande Americano Double-Down Non-Latte, hold the dispersant.
But even our sense of humor is eroding. That's where you come in.
I don't know if the word humor is related etymologically to the word humus, but maybe you could look into it. It sure seems like humor is as vital to a healthy culture as humus is to the health of the soil.
We'll be toasting you from Rome!
For more information on the first rally of the EAT Party, contact Woody Tasch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Woody is the Founder and Chairman of Slow Money, an NGO dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital to local food systems. He is author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered.