In 2010, Annabel Park began a Facebook fan page “Join the Coffee Party Movement.” She had no idea that it would grow into a movement that sought civility and reason in the political process, and offered the Coffee Party as the place to “discuss solutions for the problems rather than strategically obstructing any progress.” Coffee Party Austin rose to the invitation to join the movement after a few local politicos met around a table at Central Market North.
In 2013, the Austin group re-examined its name. Was it meaningful in Texas? Because we were not a political party and we were often mistaken for the antithesis of the Tea Party, we decided a name change was in order. We polled our followers and settled on Common Ground for Texans: Advocating positive solutions through civil engagement.
Common Ground for Texans sees an overwhelming need to engage more people in our elections and policy making. We educate and empower ourselves and others, focusing on remedy, not blame. We recognize that major political parties stand for sincere and honorable beliefs, but we cannot depend on them to make government more inclusive, transparent, and accountable.
We create respectful settings for transpartisan discussion, and cultivate relationships that help us stand up to the forces of division that discourage participation. We do not expect to find unanimous agreement among all people. We simply believe that expressing and hearing different viewpoints is the surest way to find solutions to the electoral, ethical, and political issues of the day.
We believe that all Texans should participate in their government by voting, and by working to influence policy. We welcome all who are willing to listen as well as speak.
- PARTICIPATION: We encourage everyone who shares our vision to offer their talents and passion, and to participate in this movement.
- RESPECT: We will maintain an atmosphere for deliberation — not debate — of ideas, always listening to each other.
- CONTRIBUTION: Our success will depend on effective planning, writing, researching, acting, public speaking, and relationship-building. Everyone will be asked to contribute to at least one of these activities, but to make only commitments that they will honor.
- TRANSPARENCY: We value openness. We feel that democracy works best in the light of day, and that citizens must demand openness as much as possible, while combating secrecy.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: We believe that citizens must be empowered to hold our leaders accountable for their decisions, and must have effective means of removing those who cannot account for theirs.