Coffee, Tea, or Me
By Marty Norman
“Coffee, tea or me”. What a great word description for the change that has occurred over the past fifty years. Written in 1967, this phrase was immortalized in a book by the same name. Since then mores, ethical behavior, and political correctness have been revolutionized, just as in the flight industry. What once was a glamorous position of stewardess is now described by the career-title, flight attendant, a sophisticated way of saying “jack of all trades.” Expected to serve meals, subdue terrorists, handle heart attacks, entertain babies, and placate irate passengers, they are not unlike our politicians of the day. All I can say is, we’ve come a long way baby.
The title “Coffee, Tea or Me” came to me as I sat in the middle of a baseball field at a local “Tea Party”. My ancestors emigrated from England, so I decided to research this small slice of history in order to understand the significance of what was occurring. Historically the Boston Tea Party involved more than just the tax on tea by the King of England. In order to maintain control of the colonies, as well as to pay for the French and Indian War of 1763, the English Parliament levied a number of taxes on the colonies, specifically the Stamp and Townsend Acts. Later they were repealed. But a tax on tea was maintained in order to exert control over governor’s salaries through tax revenues. The Boston Tea Party was a result of this grab for power. Not only did the colonists protest the taxes but they also regained a semblance of the self-government that they had enjoyed in the past.
Now this was something I could understand. Being a student of history, I have studied the rise and fall of empires. Having a concern about the issues of the day, I decided to take action. So into the stadium I went on the eve of April 15. I sat on a hard wooden bench in the middle of a baseball field to register my dissatisfaction to the stimulus, TARP, and bailouts that had been passed over the past eight months. Contrary to what one may have read in the papers or saw on the news, the tea party I attended was patriotic, polite, kind – not one radical in sight. Most people I questioned, like me, had never protested in their lives or attended a rally of any sort. No organization or group appeared to be in charge. Clearly a grass roots movement, the hosts included a local lawyer and a local radio host. The participants indicated concern for God, family, and country, in that order. They were educated, passionate, and concerned. No property, life, or person was harmed, no ego bruised or assaulted, just an electorate that had lost their voice but wanted to be heard. I was very encouraged by the experience. But it made me wonder. What was it like for the colonies during the revolution with loyalties and families divided, the country separated. Not unlike today.
I set about reading of the formation and adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, a worthwhile educational exercise. “The 500 Year Leap” is a book that really opened my eyes. As an American and World History teacher, back more years than I like to remember, it is clear that the history of our country is slowly being rewritten. A bit of research on everyone’s part would serve our families well.
Unfortunately the role of teaching our children the truth about our country, and the role of God and the Bible in its inception, is being shifted from the schools to the family. I never home schooled my children but it’s never too late to learn in order to fill in the blanks left by public education. Talking to our kids about the issues of the days, teaching them critical and analytical thinking, is a must. Modeling discernment will help them learn to think for themselves.
As a child there was no shortage of political discussion in my household. We discussed politics and the daily news every night at the dinner table. Many a night we almost came to blows. One night I thought my father and brother were going to duke it out over Vietnam. In the process we each learned to form opinions. As a result my family continues to be politically interested and involved. We know how to debate, how to back up positions with fact. Whether it is in the political or spiritual realm, my opinion is rarely in question. Everyone might not agree with me, but most know where I stand.
I’m not a tea drinker; I prefer coffee. But given the choice, coffee, tea, or me, I’ll choose tea anytime. Standing up for what I believe is not a matter of age, political correctness, or principal; it’s a matter of life, liberty, and freedom. As Patrick Henry reminds us, it could be a matter of life and death itself.