Coffee and tea anyone?

Tea and Coffee sign

Like Rodney King said, "Why can't we all just get along?"

I’m pretty sure it was history in the making, local history anyway. And who knows? Maybe Mount Shasta, California’s example will encourage other towns around the country to take similar action.

Last week, concurrent with the first snow of the season, a meeting took place between Shasta Commons, the area’s Transition Town movement, and the South Siskiyou Tea Party. While sleet and ice pounded the windows outside the building, warmth and understanding predominated in the meeting room inside.

Strange bedfellows?

Over the years, there have been some misunderstandings between these two groups. Actually, that’s an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that the two groups have been on opposing sides of a seemingly never-ending tug-of-war. It’d be pretty fair to say that the Tea Party people saw Shasta Commons as “socialist, hippie environmentalists,” and the Shasta Commons people regarded the Tea Partiers as “truck driving, Second Amendment rednecks.”

But, getting past all of that and looking at issues from a perspective of common ground, it was obvious that both groups saw our Constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness being eroded by a combination of Big Government and Big Corporate greed and control.

As the dialogue unfolded, it became apparent that both groups agreed that Big Government and Big Corporations were partners in compromising our liberties. All agreed that their personal rights were being violated, whether it was the right to grow and sell their own food or the water and property rights of farmers and ranchers.

The encroaching Corporate State has become so menacing that – tea or coffee preferences aside – we’re now at the point where political lines on the right and left are often meaningless.

We’re all beginning to realize that there are only two real political options – de-centralized local control; or centralized Big Corporate-Big Government control. Everything else is a fictional choice – a distraction.

The rights of the individual

Everyone around the conference table on that stormy night agreed that control belongs to the individual and the communities in which we reside. In other words, they agreed that they were capable of self-governance and taking care of themselves and one another, at the local level, without Big Brother’s interference.

Both groups discovered co-interest in the Constitutional freedoms long-ago guaranteed to them. So much so, in fact, that they decided to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to facilitate a resilient, thriving local community where people can feel supported as they weather the hard economic, environmental and energy storms that invariably lie ahead.

Oh, sure, both groups could spend a lot of time bickering about political differences. They’ve already done that. And Big Corporate-Big Government interests have capitalized on that fact. The globalists have spent decades, and fortunes, keeping us all annoyed with – and suspicious of – one another. While we’ve been distracted bickering about inconsequential political nuances, those same multinationals have purchased entitlements that have eroded many of our rights.

It doesn’t matter whether we vote blue or red. We can talk about those things later. Right now, we’re all concerned about the storm clouds forming on the horizon – the erosion of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and policies impacting our choices about where and how we may live.

Agreeing to disagree and to agree

So, in Mount Shasta, CA, the People have decided not to bicker about inconsequential political nuances anymore. They’re going to look each other in the eye, fully aware that they are neighbors, and do what is best for one another.

Both Shasta Commons and the South Siskiyou Tea Party have chosen to Occupy their town. They’ve agreed to disagree on certain political issues in order to come together in service to their local community.

They realize that they all live there together and that it’s only through their cooperative effort that they can keep their little town strong and sturdy during hard times. They are people who recognize the importance of individual freedom and the value of a functional, working community.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

Coffee and tea, anyone?

 –Sherry L. Ackerman, Ph.D., Transition Voice

You might also enjoy


  1. lydia hobbs says

    In order to be and function as “community” all sides must work together. It really is inspiring to read of this meeting, kudos to both sides for coming together.

  2. says

    Thanks so much for writing this, Sherry. I was so happy to read about your meeting in the local paper that I cut out the article and have it posted on my refrigerator. This meeting of the ways is absolutely essential for us to create the kind of healthy, happy, sustainable communities we dream about. No more bickering! It’s OK for us to disagree with each other. Let’s hold on to mutual respect and listen to each other with trust that we want what’s best for each other, our children AND the land and water. I hope many people are inspired to have cross cultural, local conversations of their own. The more the merrier!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *