(CNN) – We've heard a lot about the Tea Party movement recently. It's been spreading like wildfire with tens of thousands turning out for rallies and protests. Now, there is a new political movement also gaining some steam. It is called the Coffee Party USA.
While the two share similar names and a frustration with gridlock in Washington, the similarities may end there. The founder of the Coffee Party USA, Annabel Park, spoke with John Roberts and Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
John Roberts: The question many people might have right off the bat is the Tea Party has got some historical context to it, so why the name the Coffee Party, and why the need?
Annabel Park: First of all, I love coffee. Although at times I definitely like tea as well. But there is actually a historical reference as well. During the American Revolution, after they dumped tea into the harbor, they actually declared coffee the national drink. That was the solution to the problem. So I associate coffee not only with solutions, but also with people working, working hard. Because we need to wake up and work hard to get our government to represent us.
Kiran Chetry: What are some of the principles? What do you guys stand for? What do you want to see change in Washington?
Park: Well, we basically, just like in the American Revolution, are looking for real representation. We don't feel represented by our government right now and we don't really feel represented well by the media either. So it's kind of a simple call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation. And it requires people standing up and speaking up. That's what we're encouraging people to do by getting together and start the conversation going.
Roberts: We should point out that all of this started on your Facebook page, which now has 64,000 fans. It's just been around for a few weeks as well. We also noticed, too, there's a little survey on there. 61% of people who have responded to the survey say that health care is their number one issue. Is this a political movement that could be built around health care as an issue?
Park: Well, I think what's happening is people are responding to what happened in the past year with the health care debate. Because it was something that is obviously very important to many Americans, and it was reflected in the 2008 election. And since we feel like [the] health care debate showed not only that we are very divided country, but there's something really wrong with our political process. We kind of got to see the innards of the political process and realize there's something very broken. I think that's what we're responding to. Not only the negativity that we see in the rhetoric and the discussions, but the fact that it's just something very wrong with kind of the system, the entire political system. So we want that change. We want that addressed, because it doesn't matter what issue it is, we can't make progress if we can't even talk to one another. We want to really focus on the political culture.
Chetry: The Tea Party movement really, in some ways, has been a challenge to Republicans to move more toward fiscal conservative ideals. Are you aligned with a party? I mean, as we know, passing health care reform has been a huge goal of liberal Democrats for decades. Are you aligned with the Democrats, trying to get them to move more to the left when it comes to health care?
Park: No. I wouldn't say we're aligned with the Democrats or Republicans or any party. In fact, think most of us feel that kind of that two-party system is an incredibly outdated system. It encourages people to think of politics as a kind of game, like a football game, in which there are two sides, and it's a zero sum situation. If one person wins, the other person loses. That's really not a healthy way to conduct collective decision making. That's not a democracy. Democracy should start with the sense that we're a community, we share common goals and values, and that there's such a thing as a common good that we're all working towards. And the two-party system really doesn't encourage that way of thinking about it. It is about winning and losing, and we're really tired of it.